the reason for the drool

You know how sometimes things just start to click?  Someone (albeit someone trained in the field) starts asking the right questions and you start realizing things and all of a sudden everything begins to make a whole lot of sense?  That happened today.

We had Nicholas’ state evaluation for delayed speech today.  The woman who came could not possibly have been nicer or more pleasant.  Nicholas, though glad I stayed in the room, warmed to her almost immediately.

As we talked, he “passed” some of the little games with flying colors, and others with a little trouble and still others not really at all.  But I was learning so much about my own son.

The first thing she noticed was all the drool.  I notice it too when we are around new people.  The rest of the time it is such old news that I only notice when I have to dry the floor.  Seriously, that much drool.  She explained that swallowing drool is actually a learned response and that he might not have the sensitivity in his mouth muscles to know when to swallow. 

Then I mentioned him cramming food into his mouth.  Again, she said that while you and I notice when our mouths are getting full, we chew and swallow before putting more food in our mouths.  To someone who has less feeling or sensation in the back of their mouths, they don’t know when it is full, until they cram.

And just like that, so many of his little quirks that on their own just make up who he is, now make so much more sense.  And point to oral-motor development delays.  And I couldn’t be more relieved.

Now that I know what the deal is, we can now figure out what to do to help him.  I am so thankful that I followed my gut and investigated.  This delay is just that – a delay.  But it’s a delay that we can start working on now.  He is a very willing participant and I think we will be making huge progress.  He has already starting blowing very well, and we didn’t realize he couldn’t blow until his birthday.  He loves it.

Anyway, now I’m rambling a bit.  It’s been kind of an exhausting day for me.  Mentally and emotionally.  So much could have gone wrong, but I am very happy that today I can really begin to help my son in a way I didn’t know about yesterday.

And on her way out the door she reminded me that speech has nothing to do with intelligence.  And that was a very nice thing of which to be reminded.

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