Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Speech Progress at 24 Months

Today was the trio's fourth speech session. James, Amelia, and Maddie have made great progress over the past month. Our speech therapist comes to our house every Tuesday from 10-11:30. While an hour and a half is a long session, I still prefer one longer session over two shorter sessions. We initially discussed having a separate session for James since he is much more delayed. However, we all agree that James is benefiting from the girls' progress and want to continue group therapy.

Sessions have been very informal and play-based. We all interact downstairs or outside. The girls are little prodigy students, mimicking most everything the therapist says and does. The therapist uses different strategies for each of the kids to encourage effective communication. Then she has me do them.

In my mind, I've always associated speech with talking. I was so naive about all the precursors to talking, as well as the fact that communication encompasses a lot more than clearly enunciating words. In addition to encouraging specific sounds and words, we've been working on pointing with index fingers and using sign language. James has been very reluctant to use sign language. It took him three weeks to finally begin signing "more".  The girls caught on quickly and are using basic signs as well as saying the word. 

The last ten minutes of each session are spent reviewing specific strategies to use throughout the week. I was able to help Maddie so much with her physical therapy because I took videos and pictures of the exercises. I asked the speech therapist for concrete strategies. She is so natural at her job and I feel so uncomfortable. Of course I read and talk to the kids, but that's not enough. I feel ridiculous making up nonsense sounds for actions, singing vowels, and over-exaggerating consonants. Blowing paper around and dramatically pretend-sneezing are not things I naturally choose to do. 

The therapist has been great about giving me handouts, helping me write prompts on our white board, and even bookmarking links to podcasts on my computer.

Amelia and Maddie are making tremendous progress and learning a new word every day. In the last month, Amelia and Maddie have gone from using a dozen words to consistently saying over forty words. Both girls are learning the same words. James is making progress, but at a slower rate. James communicates physically (i.e. pushing, throwing, grabbing) more often than verbally. Here is a list of words the toddlers say unprompted. The asterisks denote the words James consistently says.
  1. cat
  2. meow
  3. up
  4. please
  5. mommy*
  6. daddy*
  7. Jack
  8. bubbles
  9. ball
  10. doggy*
  11. more
  12. mine*
  13. shoes*
  14. cookies*
  15. cupcake
  16. cracker
  17. outside*
  18. thank you*
  19. go*
  20. away
  21. here you go*
  22. uh oh*
  23. no*
  24. yes/ uh huh
  25. poo poo*
  26. pee pee*
  27. drink
  28. milk
  29. juice
  30. water (wa-wa)
  31. cup
  32. nose* 
  33. eyes
  34. beep beep*
  35. MiMi
  36. PaPa
  37. ducky
  38. cow
  39. moo
  40. blankie*
  41. yucky
  42. baby*
  43. bye* 
  44. hello*
  45. ice
I'm excited to add to this list and update again in another month.

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