I have been absent a while from my dear blog. I took a “part-time” job. 32 hours a week fits snuggly between drop off and pick up for school, but rules my entire day. Amazingly, I find I miss my kids more while working than when I spent those months being a SAHM.
When I was at home, I thought about them all the time. I was surrounded by their “stuff” and our lives. Being out of the house and focused on my job, I don’t have the time to stop and wondering about them. At the end of the day, when I scoop them up in the yard, I feel more fulfilled by our reunion.
I am currently spending my days working for a school board doing speech and language therapy. I have longed to be part of the school board for years, especially the local board. No commute, lighter hours working the equivalent of 4 days over 5. However, I find this job more heart breaking than my previous position in speech and language therapy.
Working in preschool, you can get in on the ground level and start to see change. You coach parents and help kids start to speak. You watch little personalities grow as their communication difficulties subside or you give them a way to communicate that they hadn’t had before, like signs or pictures.
I always thought my job was less important that the physiotherapist who helped kids stand and walk or than the occupational therapist who helped kids with eating and dressing. However, now seeing these school aged kids who are in their primary grades, still in desperate need of language skills, my heart breaks for them and I wish I had seen them as toddlers.
It’s eye-opening when I drive my girls to school and we discuss the origins and meanings of words – their questions, not my ideas. “Mom, what does pathetic mean?” This is from my 5-year-old. She is constantly questioning. “How do you make water? What is an atom?” Her language is typical.
I then venture to a JK classroom and meet a little girl who says “I am a princess” in response to everything I say to her. She is adorable and truly, she is a princess, but I worry that I won’t be able to help her enough in the short time I have. She is lucky to have been picked up in JK, most kids are not seen until SK or later.
What I want to say is that school board’s do not have the resources that preschool treatment centers have. I have seen it, I am living it. There aren’t extensive craft drawers, handouts, toys or games. There are no materials prep people to help you. We have some books, a photocopier and our creativity. The SLPs are stretched thin, assessing sometimes only 2 kids per school per year. I couldn’t make it up if I tried.
The point of this blog isn’t to point out where funds are needed or to rant about any service on any level. What I want to say is:
Parents, GET ON IT! Refer your children through your local preschool speech provider!
Early intervention is the most effective for many things, speech and language included. Do you know who is your child’s #1 teacher? YOU. You spend the most time with them, you HAVE the biggest impact on their lives.
If you aren’t sure if your child needs services ASK SOMEONE! Check out the Ontario Early Years Centres, they have people available for consultations – FREE. Go online and use the Nippissing Developmental Screening tool. It is so easy. They provide tips to help you develop their skills.
My suggestion if you are planning to “WAIT AND SEE” how your child grows and changes, do it while on a waitlist. You can always turn down a spot or attend an assessment and be discharged. By the time your child reaches Junior Kindergarten the availability of services dramatically decreases (at this time). Don’t wait.
Do yourself and your child a favour. Familiarize yourself with developmental norms. True all children develop a different rates, but knowledge is power. If your child is taking too long to do something you are expecting, ask someone… just reach out. Communication is such an important tool for your child’s learning and the rest of their life.
Please, on behalf of the little princess who is breaking my heart, refer your children SOONER rather than later.