This blog post is part of a 2-part series that is written by our very own families!
In Part #1, they tell us about their awesome children and explain their perspective on starting therapy. These answers are from moms and a dad, so there are several different perspectives to relate to as well! Join along on our journey and know you are not alone.
Tell us a little about your child’s story.
C: Olivia was a very late talker and even though we had had her evaluated once, she did not qualify due to her other strengths. It wasn’t until age 3 when she failed her hearing test, due to fluid buildup in both ears, that we began our speech journey. Ear tubes were placed within the month of her birthday and we jumped into speech therapy 4 times each week. We continued speech therapy 4 times each week, a combination of private speech and through the school system, for 3 years. However, once kindergarten began, we were able to drop back to private speech once a week and she was also pulled out during school twice a week. We are now at age 8, second grade, and we have begun the conversation of graduating from speech. She has come so far and we are so proud of all the work that she has done to get to this point. We couldn’t have done it without the support and encouragement of all the people along her speech journey. (Olivia was diagnosed with Childhood Apraxia of Speech).
S: Brandon had a TBI at the age of 2 which caused some developmental disabilities (Brandon was adopted by his loving foster parents and acquired a TBI prior to the adoption).
M: Max was basically nonverbal approaching his 3rd birthday. I was diagnosed with Autism at Vanderbilt and has been in Speech Therapy ever since.
Can you describe to families the process of getting therapy started (getting a referral for an evaluation, the actual evaluation, etc)? Any advice?
C: I think the beginning of the process can be somewhat overwhelming. Finding the right group of people that can support you and guide you through the process is the key. Whether it be your primary care doctor, ENT, therapist, etc. Always look for referrals and make sure you find the right fit for your child.
S: Brandon was experiencing some learning difficulties. He was not remembering things that I was trying to teach him for preschool. I took him to our PCP who referred me to a pediatric neurologist. He performed some tests for ADD and ADHD along with his medical records to get a diagnosis. From there, his PCP suggested speech therapy to try to help with the learning delays.
M: Once my family identified that Max had speech needs and was diagnosed, we then found some speech therapy services in town and through the state. He was then tested to create a benchmark in order to identify exactly what he needed help with and from there the lessons were tailored directly to that specific need.
Can you describe how you felt when therapy finally started?
C: Once therapy begins, I think there is a certain amount of relief that families experience. It is also a rather large commitment that families must know from the beginning. Therapy is invaluable so it is absolutely worth the sacrifice in order to give your child their best shot.
S: When we started therapy, I was relieved because now I would have some help. I had a professional to give me ideas on how to help him learn.
M: Anxious about what the future would hold and if he would be able to catch up. There’s a lot of uncertainty about whether or not we were doing enough or doing the right things in order to help him out.
Why did you choose Jones Therapy Services?
C: We chose Jones because they were great to work with. They have always been very professional and timely.
S: I actually didn’t choose JTS. We were going to another place. However, his therapist changed to JTS. My child had a bond with her, and he had made progress with her. Therefore, where she went, we went!
M: We had heard about them through parents with children who had similar speech development issues.
Can you share a favorite moment of yours while your child has begun therapy?
C: We just love our speech therapist! She has been such a consistent, loving and encouraging coach for Olivia over the past 5 years.
S: There have been so many that I can’t remember.
M: Every time I observed a lesson it was fun and engaging for Max. He never looked at speech therapy as boring or begrudging.