Obstacles to Speech Therapy – Dealing With a Stubborn Child

I hate to put labels on my child, but sometimes I just don’t know another way to describe her behavior.  Now, I won’t say she is unique or didn’t come by this honestly.  Her father and I are known for our stubbornness, so when I say it about my daughter it is with love and understanding.

We have come to a roadblock in my daughter’s development.  She is trying to talk and learn to problem solve.  Teaching her has proven to have its own challenges.  First off let me say, she HATES to have someone help her.  Independent to the core!

She loves to investigate news tasks and objects, but in her own way.  If you try to help her with the hand-over-hand method, she will leave the task and refuse to accept your assistance.  This applies to putting on her shoes, clothes, eating with a spoon, and so many other tasks.  We have learned to accept this about her and even admire her independence.

There are days that I find myself struggling with my desire to help her, but I know she doesn’t appreciate the assistance.  For example, One day, I found her hiding in the kitchen trying to put on her shoes.  I was so excited, I tried to assist her.  All I did was hold the shoe so she could see how to insert her foot – SHE LEFT!  I couldn’t encourage her to try again.  Later that month she tried again, but this time she was trying to put her foot in her shoe while standing on one foot.  I realize this is very difficult and tried to show her how to sit down – again SHE LEFT!  This time she even threw her shoe to make her point.  On the positive side, she will let me put her shoes on when it is time to leave.  However, just to make sure we don’t get any ideas about teaching her, she refuses to watch.

With all of this being said, we have known about our obstacles in teaching our daughter.  As we have been trying to help her catch up in speech and fine motor skills, we have been seeing occupational and speech therapists.  I have found this process to be very enlightening, frustrating, and even hilarious at times.

My belief of my daughter’s stubbornness, has been confirmed.  I watch as the therapists trying to work with her, struggle.  As a first time parent, I thought it was my lack of knowledge that made it difficult for me to get through to her.  I was wrong, she truly doesn’t want any input!  Although if the therapist is laid back and lets her direct the play, she will learn and even try to talk.  Conversely if the therapist is pushy and expecting her take direction, she will shut down!

One example stands out in my mind, it left me laughing for a long time.  The therapists were trying to get her to put some balls in a gumball machine.  She was given the first ball and she put it in as directed, but then they asked her if she wanted another ball.  She took the ball and threw it.  She was then instructed to go pick up the ball and place it in the machine.  Shockingly she did, but she did so in protest.  She cried all the way to the ball, picked it up (still crying) and then THREW it in the machine (still crying).  She was given four more balls in which she cried as she took each one and threw them into the machine.  She was actually playing in protest!

I was proud of her for continuing to do as asked, even when she clearly didn’t want to.  This is progress!  I have so many other examples and am enjoying watching her learn.  Nothing beats that look of pride she gets when she figures something out – all by herself!  She still isn’t able to grasp putting on her shoes yet, but she is getting so close!  One day, I know she is going to come into the room wearing her shoes with that look in her eye of “I told you I could do it!”


2 responses to “Obstacles to Speech Therapy – Dealing With a Stubborn Child

  1. Oh Shannon….this so sounds like my son!! At 18 mo. he still was not walking nor did he have a single word. We were referred to Babies Can’t Wait. He would not let the PT woman handle him! He eventually walked and is now RUNNING just 6 mo. later! We are still working on the talking but he fights everything tooth and nail! It is his way or he wants nothing to do with it!

    • Inspiredbylife

      LOL! We did the Babies Can’t Wait for awhile as well. Even at three months she refused to let the OT help her. She would scream everytime the woman stepped into the room. One day she just visited, but didn’t come to work with Lily. Didn’t matter to her, she would not even look at her. I guess I should have known I was in trouble then 🙂 Gotta love ’em!!!!

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