First Words Screening: Our Experience

Jake is still with us, lol! ..I’ve just fallen behind on his monthly updates is all! ;)
It’s been a busy couple of months to say the very least!

However, this evening I am here to post on a different topic.

Logan has always been a bit behind with language development. He has a LOT to say, but insists everyone learn his ‘Loganese’ rather than him having to learn how to speak – pffft – English. ;) I wasn’t too concerned as I could see his ability improving on a daily basis, and I’m sure he will get there in his own time (much like he did with crawling and then walking). However, I didn’t think it would hurt to take him to one of the many First Words screening clinics offered at no cost in locations throughout Ottawa. He would meet with a speech-language pathologist, and if there were any concerns with his language and/or development, early intervention should help him with that!

After making the decision to take Logan to a screening, I looked around online to see what I should expect, what the process would be like. Because I wasn’t able to find anything, I have now decided to write about OUR experience!

Because this was a Logan-centred appointment, I made the decision to leave Jake at home with daddy and just hoped that it wouldn’t take too long, because I am his source of food every 2 hours!

The screening clinic closest to us had its doors open from 10am until 2:30pm. I was hoping to get there around 9am to beat the crowds; in actuality we managed to get there around 11:30am. As soon as we approached the room I noticed a sign-up sheet filled with names. As I added Logan to the list a woman opened the doors and told me that they would probably get to Logan around 1:30pm. I said that was fine and she gave me a clipboard with some paperwork to fill out. While Logan chased another toddler around the mall, I tried to focus on providing the requested information. ..At the same time making sure Logan didn’t (a) take off with a crowd of people into the elevator, or (b) let loose in the China dinnerware section of The Bay located right next to us. *twitch* When completed, I went in and handed the paperwork back to them. Taking a peek into the room I could see that there were two pathologists working with a child each (so I guess they took two kids in at a time).

Now, had I known beforehand, I would have left Logan at home and gone by myself the first time around to find out when they could meet with Logan. What I ended up doing is bringing Logan back home, as he was getting tired and needed to be in the quiet of our house to ‘regenerate’, and Jake was due for a feeding too. An hour later Logan and I headed out again, and I used the stroller to cart his weary body to our appointment once we arrived.

We were right on time, as there was little wait before we were seen. A speech-language pathologist brought us over to her desk, and we sat together on the floor with Logan and a bunch of toys. She watched Logan play, how he spoke and behaved, she chatted with him as well as asked me questions- just getting a feel for how Logan communicates and how much he understands. All in all the process took about 20 minutes. In the end she gave the recommendation for Logan to be seen at the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre instead of Option 2 of just seeing a Speech Therapist at the Children’s Hospital, as the OCTC would be able to give a more complete assessment of Logan’s communication as well as development. The kid is a hyperfocus’er like his dad, which means he has trouble transitioning from one task to another (he gets upset), it is very difficult to get his attention, and he will be absolutely obsessed with one thing for days on end (right now it’s his numbers). So I’ve got some paperwork to fill out for us to move on to the next step.

In the meantime I’ve just got to keep working with Logan, using one or two words instead of babbling away at him (oops) so that he picks words up and learns them better. I also need to switch up his daily activities so that he doesn’t get locked into one thing for too long.

I am very pleased that this sort of service is offered here in Ottawa, and for free no less! Having struggled in school ourselves (me with my anxiety, and Paul with his difficulties controlling how and where he focused his attention), Paul and I both agree that it is important to identify and get help for Logan in any areas where he may struggle before it causes him problems out there in the real world.

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One Response to First Words Screening: Our Experience

  1. Kris says:

    That;s really great! I’m glad the speech pathologist was able to offer such helpful info! hope the “next steps” go well. funny timing: I just was finally coming to the conclusion yesterday it was finally time to get A evaluated properly for behaviour (or rather, what may be happening on a deeper level than “just” behaviour problems); we have been avoiding it for a long time but I think it’s time.

    It’s hard to go after resources so good for you for taking those steps (and yes, it’s a good thing Ottawa has this one offered!)

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