My journey into graduate school began when my youngest child was only five weeks old. My life consisted of clinical rounds and studying until the wee hours of the morning all while taking care of my three children. Needless to say, my life was chaotic and busy. Little did I know that I would also be applying my SLP skills with my child.
The little guy started talking at the twelve-month mark, but suddenly, his speech plateaued. He stopped learning new words, his intelligibility was not getting any better, and he became furious at not being understood. Applying my newly acquired knowledge, I decided it was time to request an evaluation. As I suspected, he was diagnosed with a language delay and deemed almost unintelligible. Thus, in between classes of the last semesters of graduate school, I took my son to therapy sessions twice a week. After a year, his language improved within the normal range. However, his articulation will require more treatment.
I have had firsthand experience with the pain that comes along with having a child that is developing at a different rate or in a different way. I have seen how heartbreaking it can be for one's own child to struggle to communicate and hear other kids comments about how they cannot understand him. Also, I have been the recipient of well-meaning but hurtful remarks regarding where my child “should” be developmentally.
Nevertheless, I am grateful for the progress I have been able to witness with my son. It has been a bonding experience to squeal with excitement as he reaches his goals. It makes me happy when family, friends, and neighbors comment on how he is getting easier to understand.
I feel blessed to have been on both sides of this field. It has given me insight and has positively affected the way I parent and work. It has taught me that missing milestones may be frustrating but does not make a parent or caregiver love their child any less. I truly have the best two jobs in the world--being a mother and an SLP!
-Kate Grassmann M.S., CF-SLP