Monday, March 8, 2010

Early Intervention, Round 2

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. :)


  1. I may need to get that book just for that chapter. Michael is not really talking and I am thinking an EI eval may be needed. I tend to talk all the time to my 3 thinking that would help. Interesting concept though.

  2. Yea, you pretty much will be doing what you said...blogging about how they won't be quiet!
    Those damn evaluations are tough to read. They had Abby sooooo very low scored on so many things. Keep your head up, and pay no attention to them. I mean, pay attention, but don't let them get you down. They will be taking off in no time, just at their own pace!

  3. I think in the beginning of EI it's so easy to be overwhelmed. For while I was trying to do physical therapy for one and speech therapy for all four. The time spent with the therapist is helpful, but it can be hard to always follow through on your own time. Having said that... my girls made tremendous strides with speech therapy... it took awhile but the benefits are enormous. Hubby and I now look at each other and wonder where these chatterboxes came from!

  4. Do they take into account that you guys are a bi-lingual household when they do the evaluations? I'm sure your kiddos comprehend more than others their age because the take in and understand two languages. Other friends with a parent that speaks to them in another language the children spoke a little later but when they did- it was amazing because they could speak in two languages.

  5. @Amanda: That's a good point and they do know that. However, it doesn't change the scoring. They don't have different criteria or milestones for bi/multilingual households. They have told me that it is not uncommon for bilingual kids to speak later so it is reassuring, to some degree.

  6. We're in a different spot, but also dealing with language intervention. We never did EI, but now that Melody and Jessica are almost 4, they're scoring a year ahead of their age on vocabulary and grammar and a year behind on pronunciation. This means that only preschool teachers, parents of toddlers (plus Grandma) and other toddlers can understand what they're saying. I'm not sweating it; the age ranks are just averages, and the point about bilingualism is a key one. (In my last life, I had prepared to teach a college class on native bilingualism around the world.)

    Different cultures expose kids to language differently. For instance, in many working class African American households, it is the norm not to address children until they start addressing the adults around them. In other cultures, such as middle class White America and my native Bangladesh, it would be considered criminal not to use Motherese (baby talk). All of us turn out fluent by adulthood! There's no single right way to expose children to language, unless of course they are deprived social interaction altogether, which is clearly not a good thing.

  7. We should catch up - didn't think we could get a separate langauge specialist so we've not had Ned tested (informally he's 6 months behind and only started babbling). It's interesting what you said about talking since our nanny talks to them ALL THE TIME. Maybe we should adjust that. EI has said that we need to make them "work" for it but it's so hard!

  8. I always think it's hard to get a not-perfect evaluation of one of the kids. I mean, I think mine are perfect! I'm happy to talk with you about expressive language delays if it would help---Danny got services for 18 months and Abigail for 6 months. She was much more a typical slow talker and caught up with ease with a few services while Danny took much longer, was delayed in babbling and repeating us and even now is borderline for needing school services for articulation. But, we did learn a lot of things about how to elicit language and some of it seemed to have worked, if slowly. The school system told me that if he hadn't gotten all those EI services, he would probably be much more behind right now and need more services from them. I'm not sure how much I believe that versus it being time, but those are questions it's impossible to have answers to.

  9. I don't mention about this much, but Izzy didn't really start talking until he turned two. He grunted and pointed a lot, but he didn't speak. He doctor kept telling me to wait until he was two to have him evaluated, so I did. And suddenly he started talking. I know he is WAY behind other children his age, but he is making progress everyday. I try not to get too upset about it, but it is hard to not compare him to Porgie (who NEVER stops talking). But boys talk later than girls, and second children tend to talk later than first children (Do twins talk later? And you have the bilingual thing to consider too.)

    Don't stress about it too much. I think they will catch up (and Izzy will catch up too). We just have to give them time. Everybody is different.


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