A few weeks ago Porter officially graduated from his speech therapy program. He was in the program exactly a year and the time he spent with his therapists was truly invaluable.
When we started the program, we weren’t even sure we needed to. We had expressed concern at Porter’s 18 month check up, but our pediatrician did not insist that we get him evaluated. He basically left it up to us and told us that Porter would likely develop just fine on his own if we ended up not putting him in a program. We had him evaluated anyway and started therapy in early October 2014, just a few months before his second birthday.
For a long time I was convinced that David and I were to blame–that Porter wasn’t talking enough because of something we were or weren’t doing. Everyone kept telling us that he was fine and that “boys just develop later than girls.” Even though Porter crawled and walked later than most babies, this seemed like a bigger deal.
Porter had the same therapist for most of his enrollment in the program. Towards the end of his program, his first therapist moved. We started with a second therapist who was just as wonderful as the first, and we couldn’t have asked for better people to work with Porter. I truly believe that had we worked with different therapists that our experience may have been different.
When Porter was evaluated towards the end of August to determine if he needed to continue the program, he was “off the charts,” and according to the evaluator was not even close to needing services any longer. I know he didn’t earn a Nobel Prize or even an A on a report card, but my heart swelled with pride. Our little guy was growing and learning so much.
I am amazed by what comes out of his mouth these days. It seems that every day he learns a new word or phrase, and it is amazing to realize what he retains.
He’s doing better at speaking in full sentences and I’ll never forget the day when I saw him open a cabinet door in the kitchen. I asked him, “Honey, what are you doing?” and he responded, “I’m looking for fruit snacks in there.” I know it’s such a simple response, but it literally made me stop in my tracks because I can see how far he’s come.
After I pick the kids up from daycare, we have about a 25 minute drive before we get home. I try to talk to Porter a lot about his day and the things around us. He loves seeing school buses and since we have to drive on the freeway, he always points out all the trucks (“Mommy, BIGGGG truck!”) and bridges/overpasses. For some reason, Porter really likes driving under bridges, so one day I was trying to mess with him and before we passed under, I said, “Porter, we’re about to go over the bridge!” He got so upset and said, “No, Mommy. UNDER the bridge.” He’s so smart, that boy.
One day while driving home I commented that it was a sunny day and now almost every day when we drive home, Porter points out whether it’s a cloudy day or a sunny day. He also asks every day if we can “put gas in Mommy’s car.” If I tell him that we don’t need gas, he often replies with “just a little bit?”
David was messing with him the other day and in true Halloween style was pretending to cut him with a toy chainsaw. Porter was very clear when he said, “No, Daddy! Put it down on the couch.” To some, this may not seem like much, but the fact that he’s using sentences and prepositional phrases regularly is something that even a few months ago he wasn’t doing on a regular basis.
Even though he graduated from the program, he still struggles with some things. He often leaves out verbs, especially helping verbs. Instead of “Mommy, what are you doing?” he’ll ask “Mommy, what you doing?” or “Mommy, where Daddy go?”
He also tends to leave out the to in infinitives (to +verb for those of you who don’t follow my English teacher talk.) Instead of saying “Maggie wants to go outside,” He might say “Maggie want go outside.”
He doesn’t always pronounce the “th” sound and often replaces it with a d (“dis way”) and just the other day while I was feeding Cayia and putting her to bed, David and Porter had to come into Cayia’s room because David couldn’t figure out what Porter was asking for. He was saying “sert,” which means dessert. Of course the boy wanted a donut for dessert before bed!
He still talks in third person a lot and instead of saying “my room,” he’ll say “Porter’s room.” He also uses “you” instead of “me” at times, and often says “Mommy, hold you?” when he really means “Mommy, will you hold me?” We correct him, and sometimes he self corrects, too.
And this boy has such an imagination! The other day he told us there was a red owl that lived in his pocket named “A-I-A-I.” Similarly, he recently pulled all of his toys out of his toy bin and brought them to a specific area on the floor. When I asked him what he was doing, he said, “Making a castle!” As you can see from the picture below, this was a stupid question because it was clearly a castle. Just a few minutes later, he had every toy from his toy bin in that pile. David came home a few minutes later and Porter was quite excited to show him his masterpiece.
Above all, we are so glad that we decided to put him in the speech therapy program, and we feel so lucky to have been blessed with two wonderful therapists who never showed any annoyance or lack of patience…even when he was acting like the two year old and toddler that he is.