Last August, at Inara’s two year well-child check up, the doctor was concerned about Inara’s speech. Simply put, it wasn’t where it should have been. So, she referred us to an ENT for a specialized hearing test for toddlers (which was the coolest hearing test I’ve ever been a part of) and to ECI (Early Childhood Intervention) which is part of Easter Seals in our part of town for a consultation. It was determined that Inara had a VERY slight speech delay, but just enough to get her into the program.
Starting around October or so (I think) we started meeting weekly with Ms. Jacki for about 45 minutes each Wednesday afternoon. Inara and Jacki played together, read lots of books, sang songs, and had a great time. This quickly became one of Inara’s favorite times of the week, she’d get so excited when I’d put her down for a nap on Wednesdays and say when she woke up Ms. Jacki would be coming.
Inara quickly made up her speech deficit, and these days is amazingly easy to understand for the most part, her speech continues to blossom and her sentences are becoming longer, more complex, and beginning to follow correct structure. I’m not going to lie, there are days I wish she’d just shut up, and miss the quiet times of a year ago. lol
However, the ECI program we were involved with ends at age three. So a few months back we went in for some more evaluation and it was determined (to no ones surprise) that Inara was doing well, scored a high average in almost every area, and in some parts of her speech is making sounds she shouldn’t be until around age 5 even! So when Inara turned three last week, we exited the program.
The hardest part, was saying good bye to Ms Jacki! Last Wednesday before Jacki came, Inara and I worked on a fun but quick and easy little project. We made a Thank You for Ms. Jacki to take with her and hang in her office, no matter where it is.
I put 3/4 inch letter stickers on a 5×6 flat canvas and let Inara go to town.
We used two different shades of orange and a yellow acrylic paint and Inara finger painted away. It ended up being even cooler, because she was drawn to the area of the canvas that had the letters – I’m assuming it was the textural difference, so it got a lot more coverage than the rest, which I loved.
When she had decided she was done, I let it dry for just a minute or two, then pealed off the letters.
After a few more minutes of dry time, I went back with some white acrylic and did a quick touch up job so the letters were a bit more clear. In hind site I think I should have just left it as it was, imperfect is the way Jacki gets to see, meet, treat, and love kids and I think the less than perfect letters would have been a better reflection of that. Then again, the cleaned up version is how she leaves them too, better than when she started, so I guess it works either way.
When Ms. Jacki came for her lesson, Inara gave her the little gift and lots of BIG hugs, they had a great time playing one more time.
We had a great experience over all with ECI, but we sure did love Ms. Jacki and are so grateful for the work and love she poured into Inara. And I’ll admit, it was a bit odd on Wednesday to know that I didn’t have to try and vacuum the living room rug since Jacki wasn’t coming over. To Jacki (and all the amazing people like her, we know so many of you!) Thank You!