This was an email I sent to Newlyweds@Work (N@W). N@W is a mailing list I belong to and basically is the Stage 2 of Weddings@Work (W@W). Members are primarily women (with kids or without) who just share their life experiences with each other.
A month ago, a N@Wie sister was looking for a playgroup her kid can join. She said her daughter, only two weeks younger than Jia, is still learning to talk and is quite late in her speech development. That email resulted to a playgroup being organized (we had one last Sunday). It also resulted to many mommies sharing that their kids are quite late in speech development. Because of this, I decided to email about Jia’s journey.
Just want to share our story. Baka kasi may matutong ibang mommies sa experience ko. Super long read though.
My husband and I were not planning on having kids so when I got pregnant, super taranta kami. I had a difficult pregnancy. Then when I finally gave birth to Jia, super naman ako ngarag sa paghabol ng lahat ng backlog ko sa work. I was the super typical mommy na makikita sa TV na hindi naaalagaan yung anak (except the part na hindi naman ako mayaman). I got really good yayas to take care of my baby. Although I co-slept with Jia, since she slept through the night at 6weeks, parang natutulog rin lang kami ng magkatabi. Hindi ko naramdaman yung gigising ng gabi for my baby (source of bonding din yun feeling ko eh). I was an exclusive pumper so kasama ko siya sa lahat ng meetings ko para sure ako na enough yung supply niya ng milk pero the whole time, she was just with her yaya and hindi ko rin siya nakakarga. To put it in perspective, in one whole day, maswerte na siguro yung 15 minutes na magkasama kami. That was during the time she wakes up. After that, her yaya would get her na and tuloy tuloy na yun hanggang matulog siya.
When Jia was 18mos old, I noticed wala pa siyang words na nasasabi. Dapat kasi at 12 months, may Mommy and Daddy na, di ba? Pero hindi naman ako super paranoid mom so I let it be. When she was 18mos na and all she could say was “ya” for “yaya”, nag-isip na ako. EVERYONE was telling me na paranoid ako… kesyo yung anak nga ni ganyan 2 yrs na hindi pa nagsasalita, yung anak ni ganyan 3yrs bago nagsalita, yung anak ni ganyan 5 years(!) bago nagsalita pero nakapasok naman daw sa UP. I’m sure we’ve all been there. Yung naiinis ka na lang sa sinasabi ng lahat at ng mga matatanda na you just say yes. Plus everyone says na she understands naman what we say so ganun lang daw talaga. Maaga daw kasing naglakad (Jia was walking at 8months, I think) kaya delayed sa language, etc, etc, etc.
I asked my pedia about it but she said that since Jia was not exhibiting signs of delay in other areas, she told me I can wait for a few more months. After talking to my pedia, na feeling ko tama naman, parang okay na. Natapos kami nung pedia na I’ll wait before I’d go to devt pedia and I’ll bring Jia immediately to an allergologist (Jia kasi has allergic rhinitis).
A few days after, I was channel surfing and yung DZMM na teleradyo, devt pedia yung guest. The topic was actually autism. May background ako on kids with special needs and I knew na walang autism yung baby ko but I also knew that she was delayed. Ang pinaka-okay na nakuha ko dun sa devt pedia from the TV, sabi niya not to wait. It’s always, always better to do something about any kind of delay. Don’t wait it out.
The next day, I surfed for devt pedias in Medical City. I called all. This was in January of this year. Lahat ng may sumagot na secretary, nakipag-appointment ako. Ang earliest na nakuha ko was June. Frustrating. Sabi ko, eh di wait talaga. Ganun eh. Nung natapos ako sa devt pedias, allergologist naman. I was able to set an appt with Dr. Eileen Coajunco for the next day. Tapos sabi ko, last na, I’ll try another devt pedia, baka swertihin ako. I called the office of Dr. Stella Manalo and was surprised to see na pareho sila ng number ni Dr. Eileen. So when I called, sabi ko ako yung kakatawag lang for the appt and tatanong ko lang if dun din ba si Dr Stella. I was told na dun din pero mamaya pa daw yung secretary dadating but she (Dr. Eileen’s secretary) would check if kelan may free slot.
That afternoon I received an SMS requesting for a return call. When I called, I was asked kung gusto ko pumunta the next day. Pwede daw ako bigyan ng slot. Ay thank you Lord! Super mahal na mahal ko yung dalawang secretaries na yun!
When we saw the doctor, she confirmed that Jia indeed had an expressive language lag. Her level was at 11months. Hindi pa nakakatakot pero definitely may lag. In all other aspects, she was developmentally at par. We were told to set up a structured home environment. May schedule talaga dapat to help her focus. NO TV!!! Dapat madaming stimulation. Hindi naman kasi talaga pwedeng i-asa sa yaya yung stimulation eh.
I researched and researched. Play therapist ako before I opened a business in another field so I had an idea what I was dealing with. I wrote to two friends from N@W whose kids were also assessed to have delay and they were really supportive. They gave me materials and more importantly, moral support. Nag-setup ako ng structure sa bahay and I talked to my family and to our helpers. I needed the support of everyone eh. Pero syempre, gagang nanay (ako yun), ung yaya pa rin yung nag-me-maintain ng structure. Syempre pag ayaw ni Jia at umiyak, titigil ng Yaya. But I made it a point to spend more time with her. I also did yung sinasabi ko lahat ng ginagawa ni Jia. That was something I used to do in therapy. Pagod na pagod nga lang ako after spending a couple of hours with her. Para rin akong nag-therapy. Pero I think effective yun eh. At 20mos, she was able to say Mommy and Daddy na. Super proud moment of my life!
Last May, we had a follow up. Sa panic ko siguro, napag-catch up ko si Jia. In terms of number of words, she was developmentally at par na but in terms of cognition when it comes to expressive language, hindi pa. Sabi ni Dr Stella, hindi na siya natatakot na lalala pa yung delay but ang problem daw kasi, usually yung ganyang cases nagiging ADHD later on so might as well prevent it na from happening now pa lang. So we were told to go to an Occupational Therapist.
May ni-refer sa akin na center but when I went to visit, I super didn’t like it. The therapist discussed the case of the kid with everyone in the center, na andun yung bata ha! At andun ako! Que horror! To top it all, the secretary, upon hearing the comment of the therapist, looked at the kid and said “Tsk, tsk!” Nakapa-unethical! Hindi ko na alam san pa ako pupunta na maayos. I read about Therabilities pero super hirap daw kumuha ng slot. Then I remembered that one of my clients is an OT and I asked her. She called a friend in Thera and I was able to secure a slot. Hay super thank you Lord. Ang saya-saya ko. Ang galing pa ni Teacher Alta, Jia’s OT. She’s super good.
Jia has been in OT (1x a week) for the past 5 months and Speech Therapy (1x a week) for the past month. Bilib sa akin si Dr Stella kasi kina-career ko yung centers. Nagulat siya na I was able to go to Therabilities for OT. Tapos yung speech therapy center na sinabi niyang super okay ang nakuhanan ko ng slot naman for Jia’s speech therapy. Bait-bait ni Lord!
Jia’s super okay na now. In our last follow-up (Sept), Dr Stella said na pwede ko na ihinto yung OT, tapusin ko lang daw yung minimum na 6mos. She said super calm na daw ni Jia and she was really happy with how much she has improved.
I am super happy kasi looking at Jia now, okay na talaga siya. I also do “OT” at home. May mga activities kami para tuloy tuloy yung stimulation.
Oh yeah, I stopped working na. I have a friend who is respected in my field of work who was the one who encouraged me to stop working. I am super indebted to her for giving me the courage to stop. Nung una, what I did was I rescinded the contracts of all my clients mid-next year onwards. Then a couple of months ago, I learned I was pregnant. Jia’s devt pedia said that one of Jia’s risk factors was because I had a difficult pregnancy because of work stress and the same friend made me realize na pag hindi ako tuluyan huminto ng trabaho ngayong buntis, ganun na naman yun. Uulit na naman lahat. Hindi ko na yata kaya. So I had to stop working altogether. Unfair siguro sa clients but I hope I was able to make them realize na I wouldn’t just drop them like hot potatoes if it’s not super duper important to my baby. Ang galing kasi they were all so understanding. I’m just super grateful to the Lord and to my husband that I have the choice to stop working.
I shared this for all moms out there. If you think your son/daughter has a lag/delay, don’t wait to go to a doctor. I asked my doctor (although alam ko biased siya) kung hindi ba OA lang ako kasi ang dami namang bata na hindi naman nakakapagsalita agad and I really liked what she said. Sabi niya, the child might be setup for a lower EQ/IQ. Pag may delay sa language, nagiging cause of tantrums kasi feeling ng bata hindi siya maintindihan. Language is also the foundation for learning and not just for the academic stuff but for critical thinking, reasoning, etc.
So there. Pag may isang mommy na ma-e-encourage to have her child assessed because of this email, worth it na yung 1 1/2 hours kong ginawa itong email na ito! Hahaha! Ang tagal ng oras na binigay! 🙂