In May I fired our speech therapist for numerous reasons… one of them being that she told me that I enabled Sahara too much and that she wouldn’t be talking by the age of 8.
So, with no speech therapist— we enter the summer with two paths to choose from—one was to be paralyzed with fear of losing the little speech we had while the other was to see this as an opportunity to be innovative with natural speech development. Being a ‘glass half full’ kind of mom I decided to embrace the opportunity.
Our new found freedom allowed us to venture wherever and whenever we wanted… but no matter where we ended up we found that there was always an opportunity for natural speech and communication.
We spent 2 months playing and enjoying summer while waiting for a speech evaluation through Children’s hospital. The assessment revealed that Sahara had receptive speech of a 24 month old and expressive speech of an 18 month old. (Note: Sahara will be 60 months (5 years old) on Sunday.) For some this news might be devastating, but not for me.
Instead, we continued to work on labeling everyday objects, comparing pictures, answering WH questions, yes/no questions, and following simple 1 – 2 step directions throughout our adventures and daily activities.
The opportunity for speech expression exists in every activity of daily living; and no opportunity went wasted. Sometimes I found myself mindlessly narrating my day, “I am cutting an onion with a sharp knife, I am putting the chopped onion in the salad bowl. The salad looks colorful… I see red tomatoes, green peppers, purple onions; oh there is a cucumber with seeds. Who’s that? Daddy is home. I missed daddy. Do you think daddy wants salad? I am setting the table. Should we eat our salad in a bowl or on a plate? How many plates do we need? One, two, three, four… there are four people here so we need four plates. Do we eat salad with a spoon or a fork?” Etc…
Narration has become second nature to me. With this constant input I have noticed an increase in her vocabulary and spontaneous speech. I was thrilled, but not surprised to hear Sahara said 13 ‘phrases’ during a 45 minutes session with her new Speech therapist yesterday. Not words… phrases!
I want more bubbles, please.
The cat says meow.
No, doll house.
Oh no! It’s dark!
No shoes on.
I want mommy.
My nametag, please.
No no, yucky.
I eat apple on apple tree.
All done, nametag.
Want duck, please.
Moo, quack quack, woof woof, neigh neigh, bahh.
I expect that by the age of 8 she will not be wordless, but having conversations. I look forward to uncovering the things I long to learn about her… like, what she is thinking about when she looks up at the ceiling or what her favorite color is or how she wants her room decorated.
What challenge or success have you had with speech therapists?