Friday, April 12, 2013

Late Speaking Children

I wrote two weeks ago about the challenge we had with grand-daughter #1 and her excess energy (read about it here!). Well, grand-daughter #2 presented us with another unique challenge. The inability to speak. At the age of 3 1/2 when little Bri came to live with us, she could say very few words. Many members of the  family (in-law side) were so quick to label her as 'slow' or 'mentally challenged'. But Grandma knew better! Little Bri was smart as a whip and she and I had a sort of unspoken communication link between us. I encouraged my daughter to get her tested for practically everything - hearing, speech capability, everything. After test upon test, it was determined that she had not developed her ability to talk. (DUH! I could have told them that! But at least we knew what wasn't the problem) Bri was then enrolled in preschool where she met with a speech therapist twice a week. This therapist was awesome! Within three months Bri was speaking - not clearly but she was saying words. And now a year later she is making up for lost time and treating us to lovely tales of wonder and songs of beauty.

Not long after Bri started her speech therapy, Hubby ran across a book at a thrift store entitled, Late Talking Children by Thomas Sowell. This book answered so many questions we had about Bri! Because the lack of words was not her only unique trait - Bri was also an extremely finicky eater, she ADORED music, she's borderline OCD, her problem solving skills were far above the other children and she didn't know a stranger. Her world was filled with rainbow colored trees, peace signs and imaginative animals.
In his book, Thomas Sowell writes of his own personal experiences with a late talking son. And the subsequent formation of a group of more than 50 parents with late-speaking children. The studies conducted by Sowell (in coordination with a Dr. Stephen Camarata - a scientist and researcher who specializes in speech and language development) showed that most of these children have normal intelligence and some even have above normal IQ's. It is Sowell and Camarata's belief that some children speak later in life because other parts of the child's brain develop before the part of the brain that controls language and speech. Albert Einstein is a prime example of a child who was a late talker who had extraordinary intelligence.
With much patience and perseverance, little Bri now has a broader range of food "likes" and her OCD is not nearly so "O" or "C". We still listen to a lot of music and she is still quite the extrovert when it comes to social  interaction. Bri still has a wider and more advanced understanding of many things compared to her siblings and her world is still filled with rainbows and imaginative animals. I have great faith that Bri will grow up to be extraordinary in whatever she attempts!
(No Grandma bias there!)


Debra She Who Seeks said...

And this is why it's so important that kids have champions and advocates who believe in them rather than jumping to conclusions and accepting labels. Good for you Grandma for seeing beyond the surface!

Krista J. said...

What a beautiful smile - that sweet little face is pure joy, thank you for sharing this story with us!

Introverted Art said...

I HATE all these labels the medical profession has for every child. So quick to label before they even really look at all pieces of the puzzle. My friend's daughter also took forever to talk. her husband blamed her and all these fights happened. They also met an amazing speech therapist and voila, she took longer to speak because she comes from a bi-lingual household, so her brain was processing 2 languages instead of one. He cognitive skills were amazing, she just needed some extra time... now we can't get her to stop talking and in 2 languages hahahahaha

Dede said...

I do believe this little girl is very much loved by her grandma! She has the most excited smile I have seen in a very long time! She is going to soar in life! We had a grandson that was late to talk, needless to say now he is never quiet. Wishing you a creative weekend!


Rue said...

She is blessed to have come to live with you. I would think that the world had evolved away from thinking of these kids as handicapped in some way, but too many people still have a very limited idea of what "normal" looks like. I've known a few late-talking kids and they are all brilliant!