More on Mr B.
Mr B had an articulation delay. He was late to start babbling. And then he babbled 'different' than usual. Mostly the same sounds, not the usual range of consonants and vowels. Most sounds that he produced were limited to front-of-the-mouth sounds. M, B, D, S. He managed G, but the rest was limited.
We let him develop as he would, knowing he was likely to be different from Mr G, who talked early and clearly. This was just different.
Fortunately, we also have an SLP in the family, who broke his usual rule and offered advice to family. He suggested we might want him to be evaluated (though he wasn't going to do it himself).
So we did the evaluation, at just under 2 1/2 years old. That was one of the places where I got a clear glimpse of how very smart Mr B is - he knew what sounds he could and could not reproduce, and would talk around the edges of the sound. Like this:
SLP: What's this? (points to picture of a frog, to elicit the F sound)
Mr B: It's green.
SLP: Yes, it's green, do you know what it is?
Mr B: It jumps, hop hop hop. And it's green.
SLP: Okay. How about this? What is this boy doing? (points to picture of a boy fishing)
Mr B: He's catching sings.
SLP: What things?
Mr B: Swimming sings. (And then he glanced up at her sideways, watching her, with a look that showed that he knew exactly what he was doing.)
He came back inside normal range, the Early Intervention folks gave us some activities to pursue, and asked for him to come back in six months for a re-eval.
At almost 3, he came back well behind normal range. But at 3 they're bounced to school system management, so we moved over to them, and did speech therapy.
Which he mostly ignored. Sometimes he'd participate in the session. Mostly not. Three is a hard age for that.
We tried at home, as well. Which mostly made him hypersensitive to the idea that people would notice that he struggled with sounds. The more I worked with him, the more he became obviously ashamed and upset about his inability to make those sounds. I think I worked with him two or three times before I noticed - and then I quit, because clearly I was not the right person to do this job. I passed on information to his teachers, instead.
And again, the next year.
And again, the year after. Even though he'd officially graduated out of speech therapy, he was still at the tail end of the range, and every summer he'd slip backwards - no teachers doing the proper emphasis without any emotional loading. I suspect he sensed every iota of frustration or worry I ever felt. Very emotionally attuned child. Mommy is not his best teacher, as a result.
Reading, also a challenge. When phonemes don't make sense, reading is harder. He was learning how in Kindergarten, but he wouldn't practice, wouldn't read with me, wouldn't be caught trying. The walls were up, resistance was the first reaction.
And yes, I felt responsible for that, at least in part. Much no fun, on the parenting front.
When Mr B was moving from Kindergarten at one school to first grade at his new (academically challenging) Charter school, I wrote up a letter explaining where Mr B was in his development and capacity. Partly it was about the Fructose Malabsorption issue, but part was also about the mistakes we'd made trying to get him talking and reading.
They placed him with Mrs. J, who is a reading specialist, and quite an authority figure (despite her slight stature, she is MASTER of her classroom), but who also has a very engaging style and some warmth. A perfect balance for Mr B, I thought (and hoped).
We've been through some interesting stuff on the home side of that - reading logs each week ended up being 'what I read to him because he won't read out loud to me' - even when he was reading out loud in class. Homework pages were always 'you read it' instead of him reading it. He'd do the work, but he wanted me to read it to him first. Yeah, part of that is that he likes being read to - who doesn't? But part was because he so disliked reading in front of me, because I suck at reacting the way he needs, and excel at reacting totally bass-akwards to what he needs.
So, yesterday was the reading assessment for the year. And luckily for us, it was also the Volunteer picnic, so we ran into Mrs J at the event (because Mr B doesn't brag on himself much, it embarrasses him). He got an O (outstanding) on his reading assessment. She doesn't give out O's without a veru good reason.
His reason? He started out emotionally resistant to reading in September. And now, he's reading two years above grade level.
It can be hard sometimes to step back and let an expert into the spot that feels like it should be Mom's. I should be able to help my child learn to read. But I don't do well at it with one of my kids. We don't match up on style or approach for effective learning. Stepping back and putting that in the hands of the right person... it is great.
I'm reminded of the Ask Moxie thread two years back (about gifts for teachers at holidays), where a teacher reported that instead of getting soap or a mug from one parent, the parent handed her a wad of cash and said something along the lines of, 'You taught my daughter to love to read, I'm not giving you f-ing soap.'
No f-ing soap for Mrs J. Not that we have loads of cash, either, with ep still out of work. But something personal, from Mr B, perhaps.
Success for Mr B, through me stepping back. That's really more of the Acceptant Loving Faithful. I had to accept who he was, and that this meant that I could not play the role with him that I wanted to. It wasn't up to me. I had to step back with love, not resentment. And I had to have faith in him, as well as in his teacher. (Granted, I also know the school is good, and that the administration put in some effort to match the kids appropriately to their teachers. So the faith is founded in reality, not blindness.)
Congratulations, Mr B!