Wednesday, March 17, 2010

From Signs of Love to Words.... Our Journey Part 4

On the way home I called my husband and explained what Dr.X had said about Joshua, we both were quite upset. Would we really never hear him speak? Never hear mommy, daddy, grandma or grandpa... never hear those amazing three words that make you have goose bumps all over, I LOVE YOU?. I had two options, one was to accept it and just go down the easy path of acceptance, grief and then excuses. No, he doesn't talk and he won't, we have accepted it so he just grunts and we attempt to read his mind. Or option two.... FIGHT LIKE HELL to get the answers, dedicate my life to my son and be his ADVOCATE. I chose option two.

When I say "dedicate my life to my son" I mean it in every possible way. It was Christmas time and Chris' grandpa had sent money for the kids, I put that into speech therapy. I sold our second car and put that money into Joshua's therapy, Chris' mom began picking us up during the week to take Joshua to a drop-in class so that he could interact with other kids his age and hopefully have a break through. I found a private speech therapist and spoke with her over the phone, while she was expensive she was worth it for my son.(Lets call her Mrs.D) He would have a 2 hour assessment session which would be the kick start to this therapy sessions. The first session Chris and I both went in with Joshua and she spent two hours discussing her "legal documents" what would happen if we showed up late, how you need to pre-pay for sessions etc. When we left I was a little uneasy but I had never gone to a SLP (Speech Therapist) before, so we booked the appointments and began our sessions, or at least what I thought were sessions.

Session 1: $100, time: 30min
Use two words, no more. Look cat. Hurt knee.
Do not work on colours, shapes, numbers or manners. The reasoning behind this was that would you prefer him to say "hurt blue" or "hurt floor"? It made sense at the time, however I said manners are a must. If he wants juice he would have to sign please and thank you, he is two and can manage this. Mrs.D said she found it "unnecessary" but I can do whatever I want in my house.

We practiced using two words only, "want juice", "big dog", "mom loves." it was very hard and by the next session there was still zero progress.

Session 2: $100, Time: 28 minutes
Use two words, no more.
Play with him.(sorry but duh)
Mrs. D's daughter was much younger than Joshua and she was already talking, she insisted on telling me this every time I saw her. She had used the same two word strategy, and it worked wonders on her daughter. I just needed to work harder, I obviously wasn't dedicating enough time to this. I was to stop reading to him, he could never watch any TV and should be practising ever hour that he is awake. I went home and we tried, but my son is the biggest book worm and to attempt to stop reading made no sense, I could see a limitation on TV but all day every day therapy? I started to talk to my mother-in-law about how I felt that this was maybe not the right fit, how I felt that the class was more her asking me to sit on the floor for half an hour and "play" just using two words and then at the end of the session I would give her $100 and she would give me a sticky note with her instructions. She told me if I didn't feel like it was working then to stop, find another SLP, but out of either fear of making a hasty decision or out of pressure from Mrs. D and the promises made by her I stayed a few more times.

Session 3: $100, Time 26 minutes

Use two words, no more.
Play with him

These words were on three sticky notes now... and if you notice the time I am paying her $100 for 30 minutes and yet only getting 26... I was always early, I would show up 10-15 minutes prior to make sure that I was in no way late. I asked Mrs.D about the two word strategy and I said that we had been working on it for weeks now. I have followed all her rules and yet we are not any closer to speaking then we were before she started. I also said that I wanted to know what the diagnosis was, I know he doesn't talk but why? Mrs. D said that she would need more time, and that it is because he is "stubborn" and it will just take this type of therapy for awhile before we will see true progress.

The next day I went to a drop-in class that I always took Joshua to, and I was sitting next to a girl (lets call her Laura), that I had met a few times but I had not seen for the last few weeks. I started to talk to her about what was happening with Joshua and that I had not heard him speak. She had four boys and three of them needed speech therapy so she was offering great advice. I explained that we go in for a session and that these are private sessions; Mrs. D sits in a chair and tells me to sit on the floor and play with him. At the end of the session Mrs. D hands me a sticky note and it says the same thing every week. Laura said that her kid's therapist sits with them and works with them on a one on one basis, she said she simply sits outside or in a corner while they work. All that being said maybe this therapist had a different technique and I really should give her a chance.

I was pretty sure that the Mrs. D's chances had run out but I had an appointment booked and if I didn't go I would have to pay anyways, so I would give her one last shot.

Session 4: $100, Time: 20 Minutes!

The appointment was booked at 3:35pm, and we arrived at 3:20 and Joshua played in the little kitchen while we waited. Mrs. D came out and took Joshua in at 3:35 exactly. We sat down and she asked us how our holidays were, she said that she had had a busy time. Her kids were just running her crazy over the holiday season. She said that her little 1 year old had been singing holiday songs and has really advanced in her speaking abilities. Her daughter now spoke at a 3 year old level. I looked at the clock and it was now 3:45 and I had been trying all this time to interject with information pertaining to my child. Don't get me wrong I am happy for people who have kids that just get the whole talking bit, but at this point in my life on this day, I am paying her $100 to talk about her child! Mrs. D asked me to sit on the floor with him and play the same game we had been playing, two word strategy and lets see what he would do. I asked a handful of questions because I wasn't entirely sure that he was "just stubborn" and maybe it was something else. One of the questions I asked was if sign language would be beneficial to him, she said that it would set him back because he would use sign language and not attempt to talk. At 3:55 she looked at the clock and said "okay, times up!" I looked at her and said "no, the appointment was at 3:35 and we went in at that time, this session should be over at 4:05, I am paying you for a half hour session and I want half an hour. I actually want the therapy to go till 4:15 because 10 minutes was spent talking about how great your daughter is!" Mrs. D argued with me and said that she took us into the class early, and that she has other people waiting, and that she needed a bathroom break. I had a lot of words that I would have loved to express to her at that moment but, I just laughed and gathered my things and left.

As I was leaving Mrs. D told me I would need to make sure that she got payment for the next session and to book it with her receptionist, she reminded me that I had signed a contract with her to this effect. As she said this she had a smirk, almost as though she knew she had won. I went up to the receptionist and opened up my wallet, I started to flip through it, I gave a confused look, then said "I am so sorry I must have forgotten my cheques, can I drop one off tomorrow?" the receptionist said that it would be fine, and we walked out of that office and never looked back.

I called and cancelled the appointment and told her that we would no longer need her services. She returned our call and said exactly what I thought she would, she demanded that we pay her as per the contract. I explained that the contract was that she would provide 30 minute sessions, and to this date she has only provided one, so she breached our contract and if she felt that strongly to take me to court. We to this day have never heard from her again, and we have filed a complaint with the BCSLP services.

This was one of many "battles" that we have made... however this was the most costly battle.


  1. OMG - I know exactly how you feel!!!!

    I have been through 8 speech therapists in four years between my two kids! Good for you on getting out of the contract!!!

    When my five year old asked me where we were going I told her to the doctor's (ST) so that we could help her talk. I asked her if she remembered when she couldn't talk (didn't talk till 3 1/2) and she said yes. I asked her if she remembered me running her all over the place to different speech therapists and she said yes. And then she said something I will never forget and that makes me keep going with my youngest who is 3 and cannot talk - she said "Thank you mommy for helping me talk"

    Remember - our kids are in there - somewhere wanting to talk and just cannot get it together enough to do so - but they will - we just cannot give up on them!

  2. Oh I know, I asked Joshua a few weeks ago " Do you remember when you couldn't talk?" and he said "yes, no one listened to me, but you did mommy you talked to me... I know what you saying" I literally couldn't stop crying... all this time I kept saying he understands me, and he did!

    Thanks for your comments!