We have experienced this many times with Chelsea, and inevitably, I always wonder if I haven't been doing enough with her, if I am the reason that she isn't making any progress, or if it is because of my actions that she is losing abilities.
I remember when Chelsea was learning how to walk. She would take a step or two, then not again for weeks. Then after hours and hours of painstaking work, she would take another couple of independent steps. The same process was repeated over and again before the skill FINALLY stuck.
Same thing with speech! At 2 years old, she had a grand total of 2 sounds. Not words. Just a repetitive "da-da-da-da-da" and a high pitched shrieking "Iiieeee" sound. Then came the speech therapy, and the first 6 months were unspeakably hard!
We worked on "mama" for hours every week, at home and in therapy, with me gently pressing her lips together and getting her to breathe out to form the "ma" sound.
She finally said "mama" independently on Christmas Day, just before she turned 3 years old. Best Christmas gift ever! But then she lost it again, and it was months of more work before it came back. Once it did, other sounds came more readily.
Now, Chelsea has many more sounds and words than she did at 4 years old, but has plateaued for the last year on speech. She really hasn't gained any new words, and has even lost a few.
I blamed it on myself and listed excuses- with this pregnancy, I have had WAY less energy than before and have been neglecting her "homework" sessions. That her brother is very spirited and demands a great deal of attention.
|Seriously my son every day|
I also blamed lack of private speech- my husband was out of a job and insurance last year for several months, and we pulled Chelsea from therapy for more than half a year.
But you know what? I am doing the best I can, and sometimes, we will hit a plateau. But that is okay. We will eventually bounce back, and we will gain other skills in the mean time.
Many times, Chelsea plateaus in one area of development while she "focuses" on another. This last year, she has regressed in speech, but also gained some significant fine motor skills and reading skills.
I have to keep reminding myself that it is okay, that progress in other areas will come, and to not get hung up on Chelsea's deficiencies, and instead focus on her achievements.
I also have to remind myself to not throw in the towel any time we hit a plateau or go through a regression. It is easy for me to start wondering why we are paying thousands of dollars each year when there is no progress seen at all.
BUT- I believe in Chelsea! I know that even when she is taking a break from learning to say new words, she is working really hard on other things, like learning to jump, or write her name, or accomplish independence through self-help skills.