Monday, November 1, 2010

Don't you worry about: Speech/Language

Another question I get asked is if we are worried about "language" issues with our adopted child... 
And really, no.  
I know some parents try like mad to learn the native language of their children - and this is good... I think.
But really, the kids pick the language up super fast.
Now, by all means, learn as much of their language as you can - because it will make the 1st few weeks easier.  Even if you can only learn simple terms like "hungry", "tired" and such.

... rewind a few years ...

Wife:  So, we got a call from the school today.
Me:  Oh yea?  What did our (biological) son do?
Wife:  They think he might need speech therapy.
Me:  Really?  Wow.  Uh, why.
Wife:  Really?  Why?  Here... K, say Hi to your Daddy.
K:  Wabbi wai!  Wabbi way wub you!
Me:  He nailed you!
Wife:  You are such a moron.

... fast forward a few years ...

Wife:  So, we got another call from the school.
Me:  Oh yea?  What did our 2nd (biological) son D do?
Wife:  He needs therapy...
Me:  Not my fault.
Wife:  Speech therapy...
Me:  Oh, yea, well, I can see that.  I still can't understand what hes saying.
D:  Pffffbth snazzle wubble! hehehehehehehehe!!!!
Me:  HAhahaha!!!  I love it when he does his "Tasmanian Devil" thing!
Wife:  ... you moron.

... fast forward a few MORE years ...

Wife:  So, I think G is gonna need speech therapy too.
Me:  Why, did the school call about our (biological) daughter?
Wife:  No, but she is having a hard time with her S's and a few other letters.
Me:  Alright, well, lets get her assessed.  I guess we shouldn't be surprised.  Her (biological) brothers all needed speech therapy as well.
Wife:  And we were both in speech therapy when we were their age.
Me:  What?  No way.  I wasn't in speech therapy.
Wife:  Did you ever wonder why your Mom went to Kindergaten with you when you started school?
Me:  Yea, she couldn't bear to leave me alone.
Wife:  Oh my gosh.  It's because the teacher couldn't understand you!
Me:  Whaaaaat?  No way.  If I was in "Speech Therapy" I would have known about it.
Wife:  *siiigh*   Remember that "special" class you had to take in grades 2,3 and 4?
Me:  Un-huh.  The one with me and the girl with MS.
Wife: ... un-huh... and what were you doing in that class?
Me:  ... I was practicing English.  You know, making the right sounds and su... oooooooooh!  What THE?!  I was in SPEECH THERAPY!!!
Wife:  You are such a moron.
Me:  Hey boys!  Guess what!  Daddy was in SPEECH therapy too when I was your age!
Boys:  Waahbba!!!  Snaaz AWFEOMEEE!!!

Now, as it turned out, she has NOT needed speech therapy yet - but it is close.  And though this, I learned a few things:

  1. girls talk... a lot.  This talking can help them over come their speech deficiencies by the sheer virtue of the number of words they speak and practice
  2. boys don't talk a lot.  We generally grunt.
  3. speech therapy is apparently... genetic.
  4. my work benefits only cover $500 a year for speech therapy
  5. the speech therapist will charge you 120$ an hour WHILE you have work coverage
  6. the speech therapist will charge you a mere 30$ an hour when your coverage runs out
  7. speech therapists are akin to thieves and dentists
  8. I have over 1500$ of coverage for ... uh... "male supplements"
  9. the average age and sex of our Health Coverage bargaining committee was 55 and Male
  10. numbers 4, 8 and 9 above seem to be related

But what I find SO funny, in a sad sort of way, is that my only child thus far, who has NOT needed speech therapy, and who probably NEVER WILL need speech therapy, is my little Ping!

Yes'ir, my adopted Chinese Daughter has the BEST articulation in the family!

So, do I worry about speech and language issues?
Not at all.

But it is not because of the information contained above, and the fact that Ping has great articulation.

I don't worry about Speech and Language issues because I love my daughter.  Even before she came home with us, I loved her.  And there is nothing she can do to make me love her any less...

... come to think of it, she might have loved me MORE if she could NOT understand me.


  1. LOL!! You made me seriously laugh out loud with your rendition of your kids' words! I hope they appreciate their dad's sense of humor! Well I'm sure they do! Thank you for taking issues that people get all worked up and worried about (like needing speech therapy) and making them... well.. just real! And yes, I guess I could chill out a little bit about learning Mandarin and Cantonese and the language barrier. I just don't want her to see me as some strange looking alien speaking gibberish to her. Oh wait a minute, no matter what, I will be seen as some strange looking alien speaking gibberish to her... :)

  2. I'm pretty sure they find me funny when they are young, but even now my little 6 year old daughter just rolls her eyes at me and its like "Oh Father! you're embarrassing me.". The teen years should be fun. :-) But at least I'm confident that I will be enjoying them and laughing my way through the tears.

    As for the language, I did find it so very helpful being able to at least get the basics from her. But I'm also pretty sure that me speaking Mandarin was one of the reasons she took so long to warm up to me... but that might be the topic for another post another time.