My boys have just eight more days of preschool until summer break, and they’ll start kindergarten in September, right after their 6th birthday.
This hit me like a punch in the gut last week – not because my babies are growing up, but because I cannot understand most of what they say without significant effort, and I guess I’d been holding out hope that:
a) Preschool would tremendously influence their speech patterns, or
b) The school district would start therapy before fall, which would tremendously influence their speech patterns.
My overall reaction to the end of the school year is a panicked, “But that’s it??”
They were referred for speech therapy by their pediatrician, at their 4-year well child visit. I guess I mostly thought the doctor was overreacting. I understood them well, at that time — their expanded vocabularies and life experiences have not helped me – and I felt they’d grow out of it.
Also, my husband had just lost his job and we had no income, which made it easy for me to decide they’d grow out of it.
But I found myself examining everything else about the boys — their behavior, mannerisms, muscle tone, coordination, emotions, etc. — in the light of what their pediatrician had said. By their 5th birthday, I had placed a handful of calls, and we had started and stopped the overwhelming pile of district registration paperwork several times. Those of you with triplets and more, my heart goes out to you regarding the amounts of paperwork you must complete in order to accomplish anything at all.
We managed to get everything completed, just in time for kindergarten registration in March. I received the boys’ assessment papers back in the mail, and had a mini-freakout over how the assessor went out of her way to list that P wouldn’t identify purple, brown, or black by name (he calls them all “dark”) but failed to note that he cannot use appropriate developmental speech sounds. That was duly noted on G’s assessment, although the boys pronounce nearly everything the same way. This oversight inspired me to call the school, which led to the discovery that more than a year ago, they’d filed my requests for assistance as though I had been offered but declined assistance.
I would have cried, but I was just so excited by all the district therapists who were suddenly returning my phone calls. We were fast-tracked through phase 1 of the assessments, and then communication has fizzled… sigh.
What I do know is that they are set to start therapy immediately when school begins in September, waiving the usual six-week in-class assessment period. I am fearful for them, because the combination of looking just alike/no one knowing who is who, plus being unable to express themselves clearly, seems like a difficult way to leap into full-day kindergarten. They’ve made great strides recently regarding their ability to overcome anxiety in the situations that upset them, but I don’t think their articulation is going to improve in the next four months. I’m bummed.
Our insurance doesn’t cover speech therapy, and we looked into private programs but the hourly rate x2 is… well, once again, I really feel for those of you with triplets and more in these situations.
Have any of you run into similar problems? Any ideas? I’m open to any suggestions. Thanks in advance!
Jen is a work-from-home mom of twins + 2. She also blogs at Diagnosis: Urine.