I dropped Noah off to speech therapy today (I couldn’t stay this time like I usually do) and very excitedly told Miss L, his wonderful speech therapist, he had integrated two new words into his spoken vocabulary since the last time she saw him (a mere 7 days ago). Since he has an extremely limited spoken vocabulary despite being in heavy duty speech therapy for two years, two words in one week is HUGE!
She was enthusiastic, but I just knew she had to see it for herself. When she brought him back to me with a scorecard full of stickers, I knew he must have been in a demonstrative mood today. It was her turn to excitedly tell me how many times he said “no” and “me.” In the life of a child, those two words are pretty important, don’t you think?
That’s one of the things I LOVE LOVE LOVE about Noah, probably due to his Down syndrome. He doesn’t mess around. Talking doesn’t come easy to him, but each word he says is a million bucks kind of word. He’ll never be a flatterer or a manipulator (with his words at least). He’ll say what he means and he’ll mean what he says. And I tell you what, when he talks, people who know him will listen.
Just a run down on the words that he finds valuable enough to articulate without any prompting:
more, cookie, milk, mama, daddy, book and now no and me. I guess you could call these Noah’s first words.
There may be more, but those are the ones that come to mind.
Don’t feel sorry for us though – he can and does sign without prompting probably 200+ more words and several hundred more with prompting.
He also can verbalize many words in imitation or with prompting, but they haven’t been integrated into his language yet. But that’s the booger with Down syndrome and apraxia – you think you’ve won the battle when they can finally repeat a new word back to you. That means they have the coordination, the muscle tone, the air flow, and the cognitive ability to say the word.
Too bad so many of those words stay in the speech therapist’s (or the homeschooling wanna-be speech therapist’s) office. You may hear your speech therapist talk about carry-over; this is what they are referring to.
So we practice, practice, practice, and we hope that if he repeats the words enough times in a clinical setting, and if they are relevant enough to Noah, they will move into his working vocabulary. That’s what happened with “no” and “me.”
Okay, two more down, a few thousand more to go.