When we were leaving Michigan, our pediatrician told us to get a speech evaluation and hearing test for Harper. He couldn’t schedule it all because we were leaving just a few days later.
Once we got settled and found a pediatrician, I was able to call for an evaluation for her. That day was yesterday. We showed up at 3 for our appointment. A very kind woman came out and brought us back. We spent two hours answering questions while Harper played different games with them. They tested all five areas of development through the questions and game playing, hear eye function, and her hearing.
Harper warmed up after a while, which relieved me because she has been in the stranger danger phase. They checked to see how well her eyes were working together and reacting to light, etc. Towards the end of our visit, they did a tympanogram in each ear to see how her ears are functioning.
Walking into the office, I expected a significant delay in her speech. She doesn’t say any words at all. She does different grunts and growls along with pointing to communicate with us. She nods her head yes and shakes it no. But, not a single word. I expected everything else to be fine.
This is the chart for where she is at in all five areas of development- broken down even more. She has great receptive communication, meaning she can follow directions well. Her expressive communication is as low as it can go. Harper is turning 20 months old tomorrow, and she is at a 9 month level for her communication. That is just a little more than a 50% delay. The large grey area in the center of this chart is the “normal” range, so she is doing great in every other area. This is exactly what I expected and was ready to tackle.
When they did her vision check, they noticed that her right eye takes more time to catch up with her left. Something is going on there, and we have to see a pediatric ophthalmologist to make sure everything is ok.
When they did the hearing test, I laughed in my mind. She does what she is told. She responds to her name. Here is the chart they gave me for her hearing.
Uhh.. come again? If you look REALLY closely, you can see the double line at the bottom of each chart. That is her line. Here is what a normal tympanogram would look like (I find it on a yahoo search).
She is not hearing. She is hearing sounds, and her grunts and growls are her way of repeating the words that we say. That is how she hears us. My heart is completely broken. I never EVER expected this. It is usually something simple like fluid behind her ears, wax build up, tubes not working correctly, etc. I am guessing that she will need tubes put in. I have to wait for the doctor to call me back until MONDAY. Longest. Weekend. Ever. Once we can get the medical intervention needed, they will re-administer that test and see how it changes. Once her ears start functioning the way they should, she should pick up very quickly.
In the mean time, they will be calling me again to set up speech therapy for her. They will come into the home one or two times a week and work with her. It is a parent-education program so they will be giving me “homework” to do with her, which I think is GREAT!! I need to work on my own enunciation anyway. I like to be involved in how my kids learn (obviously, I’m a homeschool mom) so I am really excited to get started with this. Once her hearing gets what it needs, she will be able to “catch up” quickly.
I know just a few baby signs, which we have been teaching her for a few weeks. I found Baby Signs* on Amazon with the basic signs that we will use. I am planning to go to the library and find some more books. I want to help her communicate with us. She gets frustrated when we don’t understand her. WE get frustrated because we can’t help her. If we can teach her some signs, it will help out a lot. I am going to try to teach Chloe and Addi to sign with her so that they can communicate with her, too. They love the show Signing Time on Netflix.
I have never navigated a speech delay or hearing problems.. or vision issues before. So, this is going to be quite the journey. My heart is broken because I was not expecting a lot of this. As a mom, you never want your children to struggle in any way. But, she is still my beautiful and sweet Harper. She is happy and healthy. She has no idea that she is hearing any different than the rest of us. I have laughed because once they get her hearing, she is going to realize just how LOUD it is in this house. I hope she stays happy. 😉