Have I mentioned that Cooper has a speech delay?
Well, he does.
He qualified for Birth to 3, our county's sliding-scale, in-home speech pathology program (they also offer occupational therapy, feeding therapy, etc, but Cooper just needed speech help). No one specified his delay percentage, and he qualified because he had an older sibling in the program. Remember Jack? He was in Birth to 3 for 6 months when he turned 2. But in 6 months, he started chatting like a champ and was summarily discharged from the program, and we figured the same thing would happen for Cooper.
Except it hasn't.
I have been asking Cooper's doctor about his speech since he was 9 months old and didn't babble or make any razzing noises. But then he had a small explosion and developed a vocabulary of sorts. But then that went away. Not in a scary autism way or anything like that-- he just sort of never used any words regularly except for mama, dada, this (and all-purpose word for sure), and a weird gulp-gulp-gulp sound that he says when he wants a milk. He has never in his life-- and he still doesn't-- parroted back to us. Any attempt to get him to repeat something we say are met with stony silence, even words he knows.
His receptive language is fantastic-- he knows exactly what we say, can follow multi-step directions, etc.
He loves to look at books independently and can point out anything he's asked to find, and he adores it when we read to him.
And we DO read to him and talk to him and limit his screen time and generally parent him competently. Which is something his fucking speech pathologist DOESN'T SEEM TO GET. She is very judgmental, especially because Cooper still has a pacifier, which YES. WE GET IT. It's not just that he has a paci, though. (which yes we had successfully made just a night or nap thing and then he got sick like 4 times in a row and then we went to Disney World and now he uses it a lot again) HE HAS NEVER MADE ANY NOISES on a developmentally appropriate schedule.
And we have Harry who has never shut up, and chirpy little Dorothy who is 15-months old and regularly says mama, dada, Cooper, night night, hi, teeth, eat, uh-oh, roars like a lion, makes a choo-choo train noise, and parrots anything we ask her to and has adopted Cooper's weird gulp-gulp-gulp sound for milk. It's not just us being shitty is what I am trying to say.
Cooper has made a bunch of progress in the last 6 or so months. We had a service plan meeting with the speech path and the social worker assigned to his case and reviewed our original goals and found that we met them all! Which was awesome of course.
Just now, he saw a picture of the strawberries we picked yesterday and said "Strawberries! I pick! I eat all up. Yum yum yum." But he is still really hard to understand. He adds new spontaneous words to his vocabulary everyday and has lots of 3-word phrases, but he does not talk as well as his peers for sure.
The speech path is running out of ideas. She is very judgmental that he is not in daycare to be around other kids (WTF? Projecting because she is playing with my kid while her own are at daycare?) and wants us to make a book of simple pictures so Cooper can point to things he want. (WTF? He is great at making his wants known, and this seems like something that would have benefited him 4 or 5 months ago but ignores the progress he has made since then). She only comes every 2 weeks and cancels a lot because of her own kids or sometimes only stays for 15 minutes because she is running late, so the services are clearly not ideal.
We had a hearing test at a pediatric ENT, and interestingly Cooper tested below normal across the board-- consistent with a kid who had tons of ear infections, only he hasn't. He goes back when he is 3 for more tests.
But, the reason I am writing this NOW is that he gets evaluated for the school district's early intervention program starting tomorrow since county services only cover kids until they're 3. It's a 90-day process with 3 weeks of in-home evals and then a meeting with the school district speech path and the Birth to 3 social worker. I will keep you posted OF COURSE. The whole thing is bothering me.
Just now he asked "Yummy yummy yum?" and gestured toward the cookies I baked during nap. I asked if he needed help getting one from the counter and he said "No mama. I do" before dragging a chair to the counter and snagging a cookie. He requested an episode of Thomas and Friends to go with his snack by pointing at the TV and making a train noise. Then when I started his show from the DVR, he said "Mama!" and put his hands over his ears. I asked if he needed the TV louder or softer, and he scream "WOUD."
So he IS talking and his frustration level is so much lower than it was a few months ago, but I still don't know why he isn't talking MORE or how we can really help him.
In contrast, the chatterboxes: