My son, Bennett, is a curious, outgoing and energetic five year old. He has a love for “figuring it out” as I like to say, by exploring new things and learning how everything works. To watch him play with his inquisitive mind is something special.
When Bennett was three years old, I reached out to his pediatrician about his lack of speech. I, like every parent, heard feedback that you get from your circle of mom friends like, ‘every child learns to talk at different ages’ and ‘some are just slower than others’.
Our pediatrician recommended speech therapy
The more Bennett relied on physical cues to communicate, the more I could see we needed some professional help. His pediatrician gave me two options, see a speech pathologist local to us in Maysville or make the hour plus drive north to Cincinnati Children’s. Her advice was it would be worth the drive. So that is what we did.
When Bennett and I met his speech pathologist, Gina, all the worries and concerns I had been having about him and the therapy itself, dissolved. She put us at ease and I could tell from that first session with her that this was the place and the person he was supposed to be with.
For two years we made the weekly and then bi-weekly drive to Cincinnati. The whole experience with speech therapy has been one of wonder for me. From the outside looking in it was two people just playing. Yet through that play Bennett went from five words at the start, to testing at-age or above-age when when he left therapy.
The speech therapy approach
The whole speech therapy approach at Cincinnati Children’s was filled with play and connection and bonding. It wasn’t something that I or Bennett dreaded. To the contrary, he had so much fun during his therapy sessions, that he would not want to leave.
It was important for us that we kept the momentum going after the session was over. Gina was wonderful about giving us items to work on during the week at home. It was always just an extension of what she was working on with him. Looking back, I can see how vital it was for us to work on speech at home. It kept in line with the learning process and was fun – it wasn’t something that caused anxiety for Bennett or for us.
Now that Bennett is finished with speech, I still draw upon the tools Gina gave us. We continue to work on sentence structure and pronunciation, but we almost do it without thinking now. It has become second nature to us. It’s easy.
Bennett is now the kid who never stops talking, and I know that he would not be like this if it wasn’t for the therapy he received. We have so much gratitude for Cincinnati Children’s and his therapist. They have changed his life and mine. He has a stronger foundation to build upon. Now my little boy can go out and explore and investigate the world around him and use his voice to tell me what he sees.