When Harper-Lynn's regression began between 18-21 months of age, the first thing we noticed was her drastic reduction in speech. Eventually all she could say was "Mama" and "ba" for ball. It was heartbreaking to experience. She started grunting a lot and pointing to what she wanted. By 21 months of age I knew something was terribly wrong. When we met with Harper-Lynn's pediatrician, he wasted no time in making referrals for speech and occupational therapies as well as an evaluation at the Marcus Autism Center.
Our first therapy was speech therapy with Alethea McGee of Better Speech and Language. At Harper-Lynn's first appointment she was able to get her to say, "mine" as well as the sign for it. I was amazed and so encouraged!!!
From that day on I have been incredibly thankful for Mrs. McGee. She's so much more than just a speech therapist to us. She's an advocate for Harper-Lynn and a treasured friend to us both.
Today Harper-Lynn speaks better than anyone ever thought she would by this stage. While she does have pragmatic issues, I know she'll get through these in time. When I look back on the 21 months or so we've worked with Mrs. McGee I am incredibly thankful for God sending her to us. Mrs. McGee has literally walked every part of Harper-Lynn's Autism journey with us. And she'll continue to "walk" the journey with us in the upcoming Autism Speaks Walk on May 1st.
In the two years since Autism became a household word for us I've talked with countless parents and caregivers who ask about speech therapy. I ALWAYS encourage it. There is absolutely no shame in a child taking part in speech therapy. The shame comes from sensing a problem and not using every resource available to help your child.