After a series of meetings and consultations, we finally enrolled Andrew into speech therapy. According to my meeting with an administrator, you qualify for speech therapy through the school district if your child is understandable less than 70% of the time; Andrew was exactly at 70%. Good thing I had him gargle with lidocaine before his speech evaluation!
The administrator showed me a chart that showed the 70th percentile and where Andrew was at in terms of his speech development. It reminded me of that scene in Forrest Gump where the school principal was explaining to Mama Gump how her son has special needs. I didn't take this situation to the next step in which I was going to sleep with the school official. Not that I have anything against slightly rotund, pushing 60, Mormon ladies.
I had two choices for Andrew's speech sessions: one-on-one or group speech therapy. I wasn't too clear what group speech therapy was going to be. I always envision group therapy ending with a hulking Indian smothering me to death. But the administrator explained that this type of speech therapy was created around 15 years ago for kids that are pre-kindergarten and only have trouble with articulation. Each session would center around a specific sound, and the kids would practice the sound through games, songs, and activities. Parents need to stay and supervise the entire time, and siblings are free to participate.
This sounded like an easy choice to make. Bring on the group therapy and the smothering Indian!
So from now until the end of the current school year, Andrew and Emma are going to attend these phonological sessions. Every Thursday, I will need to pick them up early from preschool and get them to the local elementary school for their 3:15p class. I'm not too sure how this is going to work out when I go back to work because Lisa won't be able to pick up the kids from preschool until 3:30pm. At the worst, this means Andrew will only master half of all his sounds. So instead of saying "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog", he may end up saying "The qui brown fo umped over the lay doh."
I know Andrew has become more understandable over the past months, but I hope these articulation classes will help him catch up with some of the sounds he is lacking. Since I had speech therapy for eight years (and continuing psychiatric therapy for a bunch of unmentionable inner turmoil), I know when I started elementary school I thought nothing of going to speech therapy. But as the years went by, I grew a little more self-conscious; this is not what I want Andrew to go through. He doesn't need his classmates to laugh at him when he pronounces the number sixty-six as "sexy sex."