You may remember a post I wrote a couple of weeks ago about Hayden deserving better. How the professionals involved with his care, in our opinion, were not doing the best they can to meet his needs. Well I have to be honest, following meetings with both the school and Hayden’s speech and language therapist, we may have got too emotionally involved into what is actually quite a complicated process. It is always going to happen, Hayden is our son and red tape means nothing to us. A meeting with the school drew a line in the sand and allowed us all to concentrate more on his future in a mainstream environment, regardless of whether we chose a specialist school in the future. We owe it to Hayden to give him the opportunity to both succeed and strive in a mainstream environment, at least we can always hold our heads high in the future knowing everyone involved did the best they could whatever decision we end up making. We then had a meeting with SALT (speech and language therapy) over half term. This was a much overdue home visit and one that proved incredibly helpful for both parties.
Faith restored in SALT…for now!
Hearing from other professionals that our speech and language therapist was disappointed with Hayden’s speech progress over the past six months angered me. He has made so much progress and I definitely now consider him to be ‘pre-verbal’ rather than ‘non-verbal’. He now copies full sentences and is showing better understanding of simple commands and instruction. He is also saying words and very small phrases unprompted. You have to know the situation to understand what he is getting at, but it is progress all the same.
I wanted this home visit, not only to talk about the next steps but also to prove to her that my precious little boy is progressing, and progressing well. There are so many improvements to sing about. It is easy to talk about what Hayden cannot do, but sometimes all I want to talk about is what he can do, and this would be my opportunity.
His therapist was amazed by many of the things he did whilst she visited. Luckily James was home so we could both sit and discuss everything with her whilst really giving Hayden reason to ‘use his words’. She said again and again about how much potential he has with regards to his speech. How ‘it is all there’ but now we need to work on building from the foundations. Something James and I do naturally at home, and the school do too, just when he chooses to cooperate is down to him.
We talked about next steps, about getting Hayden ready for a new school year with more structure and routine, about how we as parents can continue to support and assist Hayden to build on what he already has. About giving him means, reasons and opportunity (more info coming on that soon!) to develop his speech and language skills further. She committed to attending our next progress report meeting with the school whilst also taking the opportunity to spend time with Hayden and his 1:1 giving suggestions, ideas and systems to use. At the end of the meeting I felt positive, we both felt listened to. Finally. It felt like the first time in a long time we were on the exact same page as a professional. The fact she was sat on the floor with us in the playroom probably helped me ‘level’ with her more, but regardless my voice was heard. As a parent with a child on the spectrum unfortunately this feeling is all too rare.
People telling me Hayden cannot do this, that and the other, makes me only more determined to prove them wrong. On this occasion we did that. We proved our precious little boy is coming on leaps and bounds. Just because it may not be as quickly as a neuro typical child does not mean it can be overlooked. Sometimes the baby steps are the biggest.