Harry started at Little Treasures quality child minding, when he was 2 years of age. I had previously cared for his older brother, Kelvin, until he left me to start school. Harry had initially been with another child minder, as I didn’t have a space for him, at the time ( there are very strict rules about the number of children, child minders are permitted to look after). Harry eventually took over his brothers place, when he left, so it all worked out in the end.
Harry’s mum, Paula, had previously spoken to me about Harry being a little slow to talk. All of my sons had needed help, in the form of speech therapy, to help them with communication, so this was all familiar to me.
As Harry grew older it became more evident that he was having trouble with this.
When Paula asked me what I felt about this, I said, what I thought was an obvious question,”He has had his hearing tested, hasn’t he?,”Well no,”she replied,”I couldn’t take him for the appointment, as something else came up!”
I was amazed to hear this, but try not to judge people, as we all lead busy lives.I suggested that she make another appointment, but she never took him to that one either.
I was working part time as a support child minder, at the children’s centre too and knew one of the speech therapists quite well, I mentioned to her, that I was concerned about one of the children in my care and she suggested that I bring him along to one of her drop-ins, where she could observe him.
I spoke to Paula about this option and explained that I would need written permission from her for this to go ahead, she was delighted at the prospect, as it meant she wouldn’t need to do any more!
Anyway, she gave me the written consent:
To whom it may concern, I,…… give my child minder, Karen Dennis, my permission, to seek action and/or advice in order to help my child,……signed…………….
I took Harry along to what was, in effect, a play session, with a speech therapist in attendance. She observed us both, from a distance, at first, and then when Harry became more relaxed, she came over and started to build a tower from building blocks with him.
He was now about 2 and a half, she chatted to him, but because he was shy, he wouldn’t even look at her, let alone talk to her!
A few weeks later, while at home, Harry pointed to my television, meaning he wanted me to switch it on, when I did a programme called Big cook, little cook, was on,
“Yeah,yeah, yeah, cook,cook, cook, cook,” he exclaimed excitedly.
Another time I took all the children on a visit to a farm, where we saw, cows, sheep, pigs and chickens.
I attended a training course some time later and I was still thinking that there must be something else I could do to help Harry’s situation. I spoke, in confidence to the special education needs co-originator ( Senco) about him and explained to her that I had written consent from his parent to seek help, she told me that she was going to be working close to my house soon and so would pop in for a coffee and take a look at Harry at the same time.
Anyway, she did just that, all the children were sitting at my kitchen table playing with some play dough, when she arrived, I discretely pointed out which was Harry. She sat next to him, as he was cutting out the shape of a pig.
“Is that a pig,Harry?” she asked.
“Yeah, yeah,yeah,Karn’s a oink, oink,” he replied.
I told her, that Karn was how he referred to me.
“Oh, is Karen a pig?” she queried. “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” came his reply, as he bounced excitedly on his chair. I very quickly explained that I had recently taken the children to see some pigs! she laughed and said that she hadn’t actually thought that the boy had really meant that I was a pig.
The Senco couldn’t see a particular problem with Harry, other than a common speech delay and therefore suggested some listening games that I could play with all the children and that he could also play at home. Eventually Paula took her son for a hearing test, which he passed, his talking then developed in leaps and bounds, he is now doing very well at school.
If you have concerns about your child’s hearing or communication consult your doctor or health visitor for advice.
As always comments/questions are welcome.