The Boy is graduating from speech therapy. I am so damn proud of him I could burst. This week he is doing all of his yearly testing because he just turned four. On Tuesday he tested out of his school district speech therapy and his private therapist told us that she would see him through the end of January when we could start a "home program" and she wouldn't need to see him on a weekly basis anymore. When I think back to the toddler he was when we started this whole early intervention thing to the boy that he has become today I am overwhelmed by how much he has changed.
I no longer have to follow him around and translate everything he says to the people he is talking to. I no longer have to explain to perfect strangers that no, he is actually three years old (much older than they assume based on his speech). I no longer have to witness people giving him "that look." You know the one? The one where they have a half-confused look on their face while they half-smile and nod to whatever he is saying when it is perfectly clear that they haven't got the foggiest idea of what is coming out of his mouth.
But most importantly, HE is able to be independent. He can talk to other kids without me around. He can carry on conversations with adults and children alike all by himself. I recently realized that although the transition to his new school hasn't been completely seamless, I have not heard one word about them having any trouble understanding him.
He actually said to me the other day, "Mommy I say dat word good now, huh?" about a word that he used to struggle with. He knows that he talks well and he knows that he can now communicate effectively. And that is HUGE.
While I have never been thrilled with the services he received through his school district, his private therapy was exquisite. In fact, I am a little broken up about the fact that we aren't going to see them every week. The Boy started going there when he was only 12 months old and it was discovered that he couldn't swallow a Cheerio. He worked with the director on his suck/chew/swallow issues for about a year and then he transitioned into speech therapy. He has been seeing his current speech therapist at least once a week for the past two years. She has been more wonderful than I ever could have hoped for. When you have a child that doesn't fit into the social standards of "normal" for whatever reason, it is so wonderful to have someone understand what an amazing little person your child is and treat him as such. She always took extra care to make sure that The Boy didn't feel any different than any other kid. And although I am sure she gives great care to all of her kids, I like to think that she has a special place in her heart for my little boy. And we have a special place in our hearts for her.
I am trying to make this a special post about how much my boy has grown but I would be remiss if I didn't also point out that with this graduation I no longer have to shell out $70 a WEEK for his private therapy. This is a great relief on my heart but it is also a pretty big relief on my pocket book. I can't put into words how helpful this is to my family.
But most of all I am just proud of him. Proud of him and a little misty. He is such a big boy and such an amazing little dude. And now when he tells me about the things in his life that inspire him, we can all smile and understand and be right there with him.
Congrats my boy. Mommy is SO proud of you. I love you!