Things are on the change for M just now. He is preparing to move from primary school to secondary after the summer break. It is a scary time for him and all the other kids that are going through this at the moment. For M though, it is a much bigger deal.
M has suffered with anxiety issues for such a long time. Therefore the added pressure of a period of transition can be difficult for him, and that is putting it very mildly.
A while back, we took him to the GP because his anxiety issues were becoming unbearable for him and he was loosing a ridiculous amount of his education. The doctor was brilliant with him, and referred him to the child mental health unit at the hospital.
He had an assessment and was referred on to a psychologist.
The psychologist has met with him a few times, and Hubby and me, both with and without M. It was quite a harrowing experience for us to go over the negatives in my son’s life. I hate to focus on the things that are not going well, and prefer to build up the positives. As usual at these type of things, I cried a lot, but was pleased we had decided to get M the help that has been unavailable to him for too long. The psychologist decided they were several people it would be useful to refer him on to, these include occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, school doctor, as well as looking into dyslexia, and fragile x syndrome.
We received a letter about the appointment for speech and language therapy (S.A.L.T.), quite quickly. I took M to the appointment. He was, as can only be expected, very wound up about the whole process. Not knowing why he was going confused him, as he doesn’t see what the rest of us do, in that his speech is often babbled and totally non-understandable. I tried to explain to him what it was all about, but it was difficult, as I too was nervous. I was worried that there would be another label being stuck on my gorgeous boy.
When we got there, we actually went to the wrong place in the hospital, but were redirected, and were still very early! While we waited he sat on my lap and cuddled, doing his cat noises that he does when he is trying to make himself invisible.
The therapist asked us to go through. She had a student with her, so M was doubly nervous about strangers. Both of them were of course lovely. They let M play with some Lego, while I gave them the background information of why we were there. It is quite difficult to give enough information when for us, it is just part of who M is. Lots of questions were answered and many notes were taken. It was then M’s turn to answer some questions. He was asked about school, and what he liked to do. He muttered and mumbled his way through the questions. He then had to do a little task of explaining why sentences he was given didn’t make sense. He was nervous while doing it and kept looking at me for help and reassurance. He did fine though. He then played a game of Guess Who with the therapist. To him it was a game, but it was a way to get him using descriptive language. When the game was finished, M packed it away, while the therapist and I had another wee chat. She said on first impression, she believes his poor speech is a nervous thing, as when he was talking about something he knew about he was very articulate. She wanted to meet with him again to do some more detailed testing. The appointment was made for this week just gone.
He was less nervous going for the second appointment. He had met the people before and he knew where he would be going. It was far calmer for him. Well, it was until we got to the waiting room, and then, he again sat on my lap for reassurances. The therapist still had her student with her, and the student was given the lead of the session.
The first task was for M to say what was on the pictures he was shown. The idea of this task was to hear him pronounce various sounds, while notes were made of how he says things. He whizzed threw them, with a rather bored attitude after a while. The next task was to interpret the sentence said to him and point to the picture it represented. It started easily but got more and more complicated, with plenty of double negatives and sentences given in a way that nobody actually speaks. The final task was that he was shown images and asked questions about them. It was all very interesting listening to his responses, as he was spot on with the majority of them. He did spend a lot of time, looking at me for reassurance and grabbing at my hand. He was nervous and it showed, but he did brilliantly. He was then allowed to play with the Lego, while the therapist spoke with me. She said he has an amazing vocabulary, as well as knowledge of use of it. She said that she saw no need for her to have continued input with him as it was obvious that the times when his speech became confused was when he was frustrated or confused by the task he was being given. She says she will report her findings back to the psychologist but will say that she believes his speech problems are directly relating to his stress level.
While it is great that there is no underlining reason for his often confused communication, it is also frustrating that there is nothing we can do to directly help him with this. We again have to look at ways to help him manage his anxiety.
We continue to help him prepare for the transition to the secondary school, and try to get procedures in place that may help him to manage his anxiety.