More Changes for the Big Guy

The big guy is facing some changes around his vision and speech therapy. I’m trying to figure out how to prepare him for potential bullies.

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We went and selected glasses for the big guy on Saturday and he was so excited. We went in thinking we were going to be spending a lot less than we were especially with a 2 for 1 deal, but my big guy needs special lenses because his prescription is so strong for his astigmatism causing bilateral refractive amblyopia. His glasses are covered for 12 months for accidental damage, but it takes 10 days to get a replacement so we bought a backup pair with the heavier lenses.

We discovered his private SPL-T is leaving the location she is at due to her commute. I’m very disappointed because he just changed his SPL-T and SPL-TA at school a couple of months ago on short notice and school is ending so he is also losing that support. We are supposed to discuss setting up observation times for the new therapist when we go in to speech this afternoon.

The good news is that he is so excited about his glasses. His momma wears them and one of his friends also wear them so he thinks it’s kind of cool. His dad really needs glasses too, but they messed up his prescription and we can’t afford to buy a new pair out of pocket. Anyway, he is excited and he is looking forward to looking cool and being able to see.

The bad news is that I’m getting some flack about the fact that he’s going to wear glasses. I have been told to wait until he wears them in school and see if he still likes them then. First off, my kid who has a speech issue is loved by the kids in class. They even translate for him when the teachers don’t understand that he wants the black marker and not the blue marker. These kids aren’t going to suddenly stop being friends because he gets glasses. One of his friends even has glasses now.

Second, the kid cannot bead a string because he can’t see. He’s overly cautious on steps because he can’t see. There are things he just can’t do that preschoolers are supposed to be able to do because he can’t see and everyone thinks that glasses will open a new world to him. They believe that once he gets the glasses the whole world will open to him because everything will be so much clearer.

Potential Bullies…..Already?

I am wondering if my sensitivity is a mental illness issue or a mama bear thing. My son is in preschool and I am being told he isn’t going to like going to school because he’s going to get bullied because of his glasses.

The big issue is now I am truly concerned about it. I’m wondering how to talk to him about bullying and what to do if he his being bullied. I guess I would try to start from his perspective and I think it would be super important to validate what he’s feeling and experiencing. I want him to know that if something is being done or said that upsets him, it’s OK to feel angry or sad. I want him to know feelings are natural and a part of life.

I want him to know it’s not OK for others to be mean or cruel nor is it OK for him to be cruel. I want him to know that he should tell someone what happened that has made him upset. I don’t want him to think that he must hold these things in because it will make things worse because we want to help him to make things better for him. I also want him to know that we love him the way that he is and we want him to continue to be the sweet caring boy that he is and treat others kindly. I would also want him to know his momma and daddy will do whatever we can to find a way to discuss this with school and improve his environment.

Another thing I would want to talk to him about is how to handle those emotions. He and I have been working on deep breathing to settle when he is very upset. This has been extremely important and beneficial because there are times when he is crying so hard that I cannot understand the words that he is saying. The breathing has helped calm him enough to speak and express his feelings. We cannot help the situation if we cannot find out what the problem is.

think it will also be beneficial for him to find other ways of self soothing when he is hurting. I don’t have a solution for that as of yet. I know holding one of his toys is beneficial, but his toy doesn’t go everywhere and I’m not sure that would help in the long-term. I suppose I have time to figure out some other things to help him.

I guess these are the joys of parenting these days.

 

Thinking About the Dialectic

DBT, or dialectical behavioral therapy, has been a huge part of my therapy for the past 7 years or so. It has been the main therapeutic module that I have used and it has been the one that has shown the most success for me over the course of my lifetime.

A main idea of DBT is that of the dialectic. That idea is that universe is filled with multiple opposing sides and forces and that also leads to the fact that there’s also more than one to view a situation or solve a problem. It also has this idea that change is the only constant. Those two things, which I believe to be true, may seem a bit too philosophical; however, for me, they have been a big factor in my ability to adapt even when I am symptomatic. It’s something that my therapist and I walk through when things come up.

For example, I have two young sons, which is why this blog is called Being a Bipolar Mom, and there are times where things happen around them where we will test my perception or my problem solving abilities. For example, someone in my family will say something about my son’s speech sound disorder and tell me that he needs to have that fixed by kindergarten. I get angry because they make it sound like my son has something where it has a natural progression and we can say exactly when it will be “fixed”. I saw this as a shot at my son initially and I felt that they were placing way too much pressure on him.

Talking to my therapist, we were able to tease out details of the conversation that I may have misread because I was in mama bear mode protecting my son. I had the feeling of who the hell are they to say what my son should and shouldn’t do by such and such time and how the hell do they know if he is going to be able to do it or not?

The part that was missing was that they were trying to help. They told us they wanted us to send him for private speech therapy, which my husband and I were in the process of doing already, and that they were willing to pay for it. My mother-in-law used doctor google and informed herself of the horrible perils of a speech delay in K and how he won’t be able to learn to read, etc. Of course, she doesn’t know that my son can spell phonetically. He may not be able to say the sounds, but he sure as hell knows what they sound like. He can sound out some words too and he’s 4. Neither myself, my husband, his speech therapy team (2 SLP-Ts and a SLP-TA), nor his teacher think that he’s going to have any trouble reading as a result and think that we’re doing a great job with sound awareness.

Basically, in all of this, I learned that there was a disconnect. She was seeing his speech disorder as this horrible thing that was going to cripple him and that we should get him all the help that he needs. I heard it as you need to do more or he’s going to be illiterate. Part of that was that I let my mommy bear get out in front of me. I didn’t want him to hear any of what she said. The other part was that our communication was not clear. Instead of asking us about our son’s progress, she assumed that it was holding him back in ways it wasn’t. Instead of me asking her what she meant by paying for whatever it takes to get it fixed, I shouldn’t have bottled it all in getting more frustrated. We both wanted the same thing though.

Expressive Speech Delay Worries

My oldest son has an expressive speech delay. He goes to preschool three days a week and he has speech therapy two of those days. He also goes to a private speech therapist one day a week. At 4, my husband and I understand around 70-75% of what he says. The milestone for this year was 100% intelligibility. People who don’t know him should be able to understand him and that is not the case. It gets frustrating for him.

He has some form of a speech sound disorder. He understands what people are saying and he knows the words that he wants to say, but he can’t say the words properly.  He leaves sounds out, he makes substitutions, and he adds sounds and syllables to words. He has also begun stuttering which, at this point, is considered developmentally appropriate.

Anyway, we’re still working on the same sound as we were a year ago with some sounds added. The /f/ sound was the first sound that was tackled in speech and it’s still something that we are working on. He can now say most words slowly that begin with /f/ with a reminder. He says the /f/ first and then adds the rest of the word. He is SO proud of himself when he can do this, especially if he manages it without a reminder. We are almost to using it in conversation.

There are sounds he just cannot say because he cannot get his tongue to the right places yet. His private speech therapist gets into crazy positions with him to try to get him into a place where it will be easier to learn the physical piece. They laid down on the floor to try to get his tongue to fall back to produce the /k/ sound. They applauded when he made a gurgle sound because it means that he’s all that much closer to being able to produce the sound.

The rate of progression is frustrating and it is hard to see how frustrated he gets when people, especially family, fail to understand him. I’m concerned with his future. I know that speech delays and disorders can impact other areas of life and I don’t want that to be the case for him. He is so bright and he loves people. He loves to talk and play and creates these amazing games and stories. He is also incredibly sweet and I never want him to lose that due to frustration and feeling a little bit different.