Best testimonial ever…. Thank you!!! Hats off to this ULTRA-committed mom! She made a HUGE difference in her son’s progress. Read her journey with her son and how she helped her own late talker learn to talk.
First off let me start by saying you are one talented, smart, generous lady!! Thank you so much for sharing your talent in such accessible formats. Your books and DVDs are amazing! I have been using your materials for two months now and would like to share my experience with you:
My son just turned two. As it happened, I had recently quit working my full-time job as an attorney (which is really more like two full times jobs). The timing couldn’t have been more beneficial for our family.
Even though I suspected something was going on earlier, it wasn’t until I took Evan to our first mommy-and-me class at his preschool that I realized he wasn’t talking anywhere even remotely close to the level of the other kids. At his two-year old appointment I explained what I had seen to his pediatrician. She gave us a recommendation for a developmental pediatrician to receive a full evaluation. I scheduled the evaluation for the first available appointment, nearly three months later (we just had that appointment last week).
So since I knew at the very least my son’s speech was delayed, while waiting for the appointment I scoured the Internet for ideas we could implement at home until we got some professional help. I bought every book off Amazon that anyone on any site recommended. I spent hours a night reading about everything and anything: ADHD, sensory integration, autism, etc. I started putting what I could to use, but I had yet to find a comprehensive strategy I could follow. And then one night I happened upon your site. Everything you said just clicked and I stayed up all night reading through your posts. The next morning, the second my husband woke up I asked him to please, please, please purchase your full therapy set (the one with 5 DVDs and 3 manuals). He was a little hesitant considering everything that we had already purchased that month, but my enthusiasm won him over. And that’s when everything changed…
After reading your site I realized for the first time that my son wasn’t a little behind in speech, he was a lot behind in every developmental area. As you know there are a gazillion websites online that explain developmental milestones, but yours was the first that truly explained what the milestones meant (they were the age ranges of when 90% of kids had reach those milestones and that most kids were far exceeding what was listed!!).
The first week after I received your materials (that I had been staying up late every night reading and watching), I started first by using the “Teach Me to Play With You” manual. The games you list seemed so basic and were things I had played with my son many times (and I knew the nanny previously had too), but that he had never seemed interested in playing before. Using them as you recommended with high affect, slowing down, and lots and lots of repetition made a world of difference! I really had to go against my shy nature to continually “ratchet it up a notch”, but my son was finally paying attention to me! I know this sounds unbelievable, but by the end of that week for the first time ever, Evan looked me in the eyes and said “mama”. It was the first time he had ever looked me in the eyes while saying that word and I knew he was actually connecting that word with me! I was bawling on the spot and tear up even thinking about it now.
At the point when I started using your materials my son used less than 10 words (spontaneously or imitated) and even those words were difficult to understand. He avoided social back-and-forth. I had become very used to anticipating what he wanted to avoid his whining. He had difficulty with transitions. His play was very immature; his main focus being putting objects in and out of containers/spaces, though he often would also just knock everything in sight onto the ground. Evan’s frustration in not being able to communicate was palpable.
Wanting to make up for lost time, I started using your strategies for one-on-one interaction with Evan 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, I quickly realized that Evan did best when we did about 6 hours of therapy, 5 days a week, leaving the remaining time for unstructured play and what I can only describe as “processing”. We use one of the remaining days for errands and an activity that involves high sensory input (which Evan seems to crave, but in manageable bits) – Disneyworld is our favorite. And on Sundays we just relax.
Everyone in Evan’s preschool class noticed the changes in his speech and behavior over the 10 weeks of the class. Even though we were doing the therapy consistently and intensely, I thought that since I’m not a professional therapist (and also likely due to the guilt I felt for not being at home much the first two years of his life), that his improvements were due to the simple fact that I was now at home and he wasn’t constantly anxious that I was going to leave at any moment and was thus able to focus more. I still believe Evan’s decreased anxiety is playing a factor, but after having our appointment with the developmental pediatrician last week I realize how adept of an unprofessional speech therapist I have become, which I fully credit to your generosity in taking the time to share your knowledge and experiences, and putting your strategies into a manageable model for someone with zero experience to be able to implement. We met with the developmental pediatrician for two hours, during which time she observed how Evan interacted on his own, with her, and with me. She was amazed at the strategies I was employing and said that I was doing everything a professional speech therapist would do. And compared to the survey we had filled out when we first booked our appointment, she was quite impressed with Evan’s improvement in such a short period. She seemed adamant that if I kept doing what I was doing for the next 2-3 years and with the assistance of a professional speech therapist and OT, that Evan will be able to “really turn things around”. While she feels that autism spectrum disorder is the underlying concern, she isn’t going to diagnosis him at this time, and will instead continue to monitor his progress. I don’t know that Evan won’t ever be diagnosed with ASD, but I took her optimism as a sign that we are on the right track. My husband and I are meeting with her again at the end of this week for a more detailed explanation of her analysis.
I will never be able to fully express my gratitude at the impact you have made on our lives!!! Evan now has a spontaneous vocabulary of 207 words (I counted over a three-day period). He initiates interactions with gestures and words. He makes a lot more eye contact. And he is engaging in back-and-forth interactions for often two hours at a time! For example, we especially have a lot of fun playing together in the bathtub, singing songs, playing social games, imitating each other, basically all your techniques in one play space – my husband is amazed at the hours we spend in the tub. I think the enclosed space makes a big difference, so we also moved our tv and couch out of the way (and out of use!), in exchange for a large camping tent in the middle of the living room.
I know I don’t know you personally, but I will always hold a special place for you in my heart. I couldn’t have done this without you! Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!”
*Names Changed for Privacy*
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