Anybody hungry for a What’s Noah Doing Now update?
Well, for starters, apparently he’s been more cooperative in his PROMPT speech therapy lately. I can’t tell for sure, because I’ve been sitting out
Sitting out? Yes, you heard me right.
I know, I know, totally unlike me, right?
But I can tell you this: Noah has added several new words to his vocabulary in the last few weeks. Most importantly, he has made HUGE progress in being able to access on command all those wonderful sounds he can make. Before we started PROMPT therapy, I knew Noah could actually form almost all the phonemes, but he just couldn’t do it when he wanted to. In other words, when we would drill using our Lingraphica Phonemes (free) app https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smalltalk-phonemes/id384170714?mt=8, Noah could say those sounds. But later if I gave him a banana and said “say buh,” he often would concentrate, purse his lips and say “puh” or “tuh” or “muh” or even “puh-tuh” and very quickly get frustrated because the sound he had in his head was not the sound that was coming out of his mouth. When I would repeat “buh,” he would go to a new sound, but it still wouldn’t be “buh.” If I said “buh, buh, buh, buh,” he often then could say “buh.” But then go back to banana and have him try to say “buh,” and he would often be unable to.
Very apraxia-ish, eh?
Currently, Noah usually is able to repeat any phoneme I give him on the first or second try, and if he does wind up going down a list of sounds, eventually he is arriving at the right one. HUGE progress!
Some words that have popped out of my little guy’s mouth lately with prompting (not always pronounced exactly right, but syllables in the right place and main sounds made) – turtle, teeth, cake, bunny, money, candy, boom, and boot.
I’ve also been doing some auditory bombardment with Noah. I actually don’t have much faith in auditory bombardment in Noah’s case since a huge piece of his issue is oral motor dysfunction, but I have to say I’ve seen him progress greatly over the past few weeks. I have a sheet of 16 PECs with words like bag, boat, bone, bug, bat, etc. At first, I just read the words off without even having him look at the paper. After a few days of that, I sat him in my lap and used hand-over-hand assistance to have him point to the words as I read them. Next I said each word and waited for him to say them after me. As soon as he started resisting, I reverted back to letting him point while I said the words. Now I say the word and point to it, and he automatically says the word back to me. So, let’s hear it for auditory bombardment! (Technically, auditory bombardment uses repetitions of the same words in one session – I did the slacker version – just one but sometimes two runs per session.) So he can now say about 12 of those 16 words as well.
The big question here is will Noah integrate these new words into daily usage. “Carryover” is a huge issue in speech therapy, especially in kids with Down syndrome. It’s great that they can pronounce words on cue, but if those words never make it into their working vocabulary, all that hard work really isn’t doing them any good. I can report that Noah is using some of these new words. He is using nana (for banana), teeth, iPad, candy and bear at times without any prompting. He’s also got some good approximations for “Caelie, Trinity, Abby and Leah.” I’m probably forgetting a bunch here, but it’s safe to say Noah is still not a very talkative fellow.
My favorite thing that Noah is doing? He’s been going up to his siblings and tickling them and making a new sound along the lines of “tickle, tickle, tickle.”
Oh, and get this – he’s had about enough of me putting my hands on his face to reinforce the PROMPT tactile cueing he’s getting in therapy. I make him SOOOO mad. I think for now I better let Marcus work his PROMPT magic on Tuesdays and I’ll do some hands-off coaching during the other days of the week.