When I read that the 2015 theme for Better Hearing and Speech Month was “Early Intervention Counts,” I thought back to Ryan as a toddler and some of the challenges he experienced. I knew that Ryan was experiencing delays in his expressive language, but felt that his receptive skills were on par. So, I reached out one of our Early Intervention speech therapists, Kathy Voght, MA SLP. Kathy suggested that I maintain a list of his expressive language and as he acquired new words, simply add to it. She also recommended that he enroll in one of her toddler language groups. So Ryan was 15 months and off to school!
Yes, Early Intervention was exactly what he needed. The structured play groups, led by the therapists, provided him multiple opportunities to engage in conversations with his peers. Kathy also provided me with lots of suggestions as to how I could stimulate his speech at home. Between the two, we were well on our way to success.
Over the years, I have always encouraged families who have identified delays to reach out to Early Intervention providers and to get their child involved as early as possible. To this end, the Barber National Institute offers Bright Beginning, a program for children ages birth to three who are experiencing developmental delays. We also offer preschool early intervention programs, for children three to five years of age.
Today, Ryan engages me in conversation all the time, and although I certainly have moments throughout my day where I wish for a little “quiet time,” I wouldn’t trade my conversations with him for anything!