We’ve been to four speech therapy classes so far now and I know that they’re helping because every now and then we have a little breakthrough.
You see, from what I can tell, it seems that the peanut doesn’t know he has a voice of his own. I read somewhere that children go through the first part of their lives not realizing that they are separate beings from their primary caregiver. In my case, It’s like the peanut has gone through his whole life going along with the flow, not realizing he is his own person, and, as a result (aside from any physical limitations he may have), doesn’t realize that he can use his words to communicate.
That, in combination with him being the baby of the family, means that he’s just so comfortable using his baby noises, whines and cries as a means of communication, that he just can’t (or won’t) do it any other way.
One way we’ve been practicing with him is to get him to make choices for himself. For example, when it’s time for a snack, or to put his hat on, or to get a drink, we give him a choice of two. Two different colour cups, two different colour hats, two different kinds of snacks, holding them out to him and asking him to point and choose. This frustrates him to no end, usually triggering a temper tantrum. He’s so used to being given everything, or taking what he wants, he never developed the skill to point and choose what he wants when he can only have one. He knows what he is supposed to do, and sometimes he does make the choose, but he’s pissed that he has to.
With time and practice, he’ll get used to making this kind of small decision for himself, and in practicing, it will help him find his voice.
But back to the breakthrough. Two, actually.
First, the word “again” is something I taught him quite a while ago. As in, we’ll be reading a story or singing a song and I’ll say “again?”, and he’ll say “again!” and we’ll do it again. And again, and again.
The other day he was playing with the hubs, and after they were done they both went their separate ways, and a few minutes later the peanut came running up to him and he shouted “AGAIN!” Apparently they were playing helicopter and when the hubs heard him say again, his automatic response was to say no, that they were finished playing, but I told him that the fact that the peanut just ran up to him, minutes later and said “again!” holding his arms up, was a clear indication that he was communicating to us that he want to be flown around again! Amazing! He’s never done that before and I immediately told him he’d better pick that child up and fly him around for as long as he wants, as long as he keeps saying again! And he did.
The second breakthrough happened a week or two ago. Getting the kids to the car in the morning is usually a comedy of errors from our apartment door, down the hall, down the elevator, down another hall and out to, and into the car. It’s quite a production. One thing I’ve started doing, to keep the animals from running amok, is to say “jump” and get them jumping while we’re waiting for the elevator (to keep the peanut from running away down the hallway, causing us to miss the elevator – has happened several times by the way) or when we’re riding the elevator to keep the peanut from pressing ALL THE BUTTONS as we ride it down.
Well, on our way to speech therapy one day, it was just the two of us, and as we stood quietly in the elevator he looked at me and said “jump!” and did just that. I was so shocked and happy to hear him we played “jump” all the way down the elevator, through the hall, and out to the car. He thought it was great fun, I was so proud to hear him speak.
Slowly but surely we’re getting there.
My strong, silent, little guy.
btw, he has also perfected the duckface kiss*.
in the area of essential social skills, my job here is done.
*see his brother’s duckface here