Last week, Sebastian and Collette had their reevaluation to see if they would continue to qualify for Early Intervention services. I had already talked about it with B (our social worker, the one who does our weekly visits) and she let me know that she was pretty sure they would qualify. I wasn't surprised by that either - they aren't saying any words yet and Sebastian doesn't babble nearly as much as he should be. Recently, Collette did start saying "up" and they both say "deedee" for dog but that's it.
The evaluation involved four people: B, two other EI specialists and a grad student. The scores each of them got didn't come as a complete shock but they were still unnerving. To be fair, they did great in most areas, sometimes even above age. Apparently, I have very social little buggers. It was the language component that bothered me. For expressive language, they both scored at 8 Months! I knew they were behind but not by that much. What was even more surprising is how they measure this. They kept telling me that the kids aren't imitating me enough. And I guess they aren't but that's what they said 6 months ago, at the first evaluation. So, shouldn't they have improved? They scored 5 months old then. By my math, that means they only "aged" 3 months in this department. And that was with services!
Part of me thinks I should can the whole thing since it didn't really help them catch up with their language delay. But a much bigger part of me thinks that if we stay the course, we will start to see results. I think that we need to focus more on the language development; it's very easy for me to get sidetracked by other issues that are a big deal for me (like feeding issues, transitions, etc.) so I often use a lot of our time talking about things unrelated to Sebastian and Collette's language. Not to say we ignore it but I'm sure we could focus on it much more than we do now. To that end, I will request that we have a speech therapist/speech language pathologist be part of our "team" and our weekly visits - our IFSP is Wednesday. Not only will it be beneficial for us to have an expert in the field with us each week, it will also help me keep my focus where it should be.
On a related note, I just finished reading the book NutureShock, recommended by LauraC. Very good read and I also say, if you have some time, read it. Quite the eye-opener. Anyway, there is chapter dealing with how infants acquire language. I read it before I read any of the other chapters hoping I could find the piece that I have been missing. Basically, the research says that the best way to get kids talking is to not talk so much. Of course, we want our kids to grow up in a language-rich environment (whatever the F that means) so us moms tend to narrate everything we do. And everything our kids do. But the studies they bring up in the book show that kids whose parents simply let them babble and then just responded to their babble (even with just a touch or a kiss; not necessarily talking back to them) talked earlier than those whose parents did not respond to them as quickly and as often. The trick is, your kid has to start the talking, not the other way around. I have been trying this lately and I can't say if it's the technique or just coincidence but Sebastian has been babbling WAY more. As much as Collette, sometimes more. Very promising, either way.
I'm sure that in a year, I will be writing about how they won't stop talking. Sigh. :)