Monday, October 6, 2008

Matthew

i'm not sure if any of you have dealt with a speech impediment in your child before. i need a support group or something! this is really, hugely frusrating to live with (infinitely more so for him, i'm positive)! i recived a written report from his speech pathologist today, which was interesting because she said:

"When I initially started with him, he was reportedly getting frustrated at home when he had difficulty getting out words. He would even occasionally state that he needed help getting his words out. He tended to repeat the first sound of a word, sometimes up to 45 seconds. He would stutter on every word in a sentence if he was really tired. He did not start talking till he was 2. At 2 ½ he reportedly stopped talking and reverted to babble.

Upon evaluation, he stuttered on every other word. He would repeat the first sound of the word 1-2 times each. No secondary behaviours were observed. He had a significant speech and language disorder as well, including final consonant deletion, fricative stopping, velar assimilation, syllable reduction, and difficulty with bilabial production. He had difficulty with pronouns, possessives, and he omitted all function words."

it feels like a relief to have a specialist acknowledge that Matthew has a significant problem, and to have her develop a plan of approach towards addressing it. Them. He has several problems regarding his speech (as you can see from those long gibberishy words she used to describe his issues).

One of the more frustrating aspects of his speech problems is that they get worse during the course of the day as he gets more tired, and during times of stress or change. Guess what? The end of the day is MY worst and most tired time, and times of stress or change make ME less capable of coping as well. No brainer. But I have to tell you a secret and you CAN'T judge me for it; by suppertime I JUST WANT TO SHOUT AT HIM TO SHUT THE #$%^&**&^%$# UP!!!! Oh, I'm so terrible. Confessions are so hard. But Matthew talks almost constantly, and the constant flow of unintelligible, rambling stream of consciousness of my four year old child is enough to make me pray for silence, deafness, death, anything to get away from the noise!!!!!! Howl! How terrible am I to be confessing all this,,,but the feelings are there whether they are acknowledged or not, so there you go. Especially at dinnertime. I'm starving, I'm exhausted, I'm tripping on toys to get a meal on the table that I know my kids will HATE because it's not pizza or hot dogs, I'm irritated because I don't like to cook in the first place, usually the baby is cranky or hungry or both, and both Ayden and Matthew are chatterboxes...
Plus, some of what Matthew has to say around dinner would drive Mother Teresa to suicide:
"Mo-mo-mo-mo-mo-m-m-m-m-m-mo-mo-mo-mo-mo-mo-mo-mo-mo-ee-mo-ee-mo-ee-mommy? Me-a-me-a-me-a-me-ameameameameameame-me-me-me-meab-meab-meab-meab-meab-meab-meab-meab-hhhh-hhhhh-hhh-hhhhh-hhhhotter-plate? Me no like dih-a-dih-a-dih-a plate. Mea-mea-mea-mea-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-Me no LIKE dih-dih-dih-dih-dih-dih-DIHDIHDIHDIHDIH DIS kind tupper! Me want hhhhh-hhhhhh-hhhhhh-otter tind-otter s-s-s-s-s-s-s-sing, otter tupper, hhhhh-hhh-hot dog! Yeah!"
Holy crap. You just took three minutes to tell me you want another plate and a hot dog for supper instead of what I made. Not only are you insulting my cooking, you are doing it in a very long, drawn out, noisy manner in a whiney. high pitched voice, for the four hundredth time in the last hour. And if I don't pay careful attention I'll miss your prononciation completely and we'll have to hear a repeat of the entire performance.
I love ya. I want to hear what you have to say.
I just don't want to have to listen to you talk.

I keep reminding myself that Moses had a speech impediment, and he went on to make his mother proud I'm sure (not when murdering the Egyptian, but afterwards, when he stood up to Pharoh with his snake staff and plagues, and then led the Israelites out of slavery!). Incidentally, Moses was also adopted.
Anyways. I had to vent. Take the above example of Matthew's speech and multiply it by several thousand, and you have a sample of what I listen to in a day. He is a dear, sweet boy who has the FUNNIEST and CUTEST and SWEETEST things to say--if only you can actually hear them...and be patient enough to sort out what it is he's trying to say...

Sigh.

Sometimes when he says nothing the most amazing moments happen.
Tonight at bedtime Riley fell asleep on Matthew's bed. Matthew contorted himself around his sleeping brother and accommodated his presence in his bed without complaint. When I got up to leave he reached over and kissed Riley 8 or 9 times on the head, obviously overcome with affection. So sweet.
Or, this afternoon I was crying with frustration and he came up to me and hugged my arm and laid his head on my shoulder and stayed there for a minute.
Or he shares his candy unasked, all the time.
Or he chases birds at the park with the wildest look of happiness on his face.
Or he sleeps. And it's quiet. Ahhhhhhhhhh.............

6 comments:

Roboseyo said...

No judgement, Mel. I love you. You love Matthew. It's all good.

Take care of yourself, and know that we're rooting for you.

You'll get through this. Hell yeah!

Tonya said...

I totally understand. Rebekah has a bad habit right now of making mouth noises and picking at her lip. When I'm doing well, I sweetly and patiently ask her to stop. When I'm tired and cranky (most of the time right now) I want to SCREAM at her to stop - and I ask her in a very irritated tone to STOP THE MOUTH NOISES. The joys of being a flawed human.

Asheya said...

Hang in there. Elias doesn't have a speech problem, and I often find myself getting annoyed with the constant stream of questions, crying, and loud machine noises. Not to mention the shrieking, which Eowyn is now picking up on, so I have two shriekers who find it very funny to shriek back and forth at each other at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I can't even imagine throwing a stutter plus other problems with speech into the mix. It was annoying enough when we still had our little car and we had the windows rolled down and Elias would be trying to talk to us from his carseat in the back and we'd be saying, "What? What? I can't hear you! Talk louder!" Oh, he'd get so frustrated!

Here's an idea, don't know if you're looking for any, don't know if it would even float in your house, but could you try to establish some sort of "quiet time" rule when you're making dinner? Like, nobody is allowed to talk to you unless the house is on fire sort of thing. Give each of the big boys a quiet activity they can do mostly unsupervised (colouring? "reading" a book? stickers?...maybe you have more creative ideas than me). It might take a while for the idea to sink in, but young children generally love routines, and I bet once it gets going they'll be policing each other to make sure the rules are observed! If it worked it might at least make that part of the day a little less stressful.

jenna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jenna said...

You are gifted with words and conveying your feelings. Reading that dinner conversation was actually painful! Way to see the good stuff though. I would love to have him visit for supper. Bring Ayden and Matthew over and you and Brent can have a "no talking" supper. Seriously. We'll have hot dogs and hotter plates.

jenna said...

No different plates. I thought he was saying hotter plates. but i just went back to check.