Both Marcus (Noah’s speech therapist) and I have noticed Noah being a lot more verbal lately. It’s exciting, and yet I hold my breath because I know that this could just be another phase that will fade away rather than prove to be a new pattern in his speech progress. He’s been willing to mimic back attempts at almost any word I prompt him with (as long as he is in the “mood”).
The other night he did something, though, that I consider quite a breakthrough. He was lying in bed as I was tucking him in, and he said an unintelligible word with a lot of energy. When I didn’t understand and started rattling off a list of words that I thought he might be trying to say, he said no to all of them. But whatever it was he wanted, he really, really wanted. He even grabbed his mouth to try to force the shape of his lips to help him say the word. I still couldn’t decipher it, and Noah gave a frustrated sigh that I could tell was an inward disappointment that he couldn’t say the word. He tried SOOOOO hard!!!! Finally, even though I’m always so relieved to get everyone one in bed, I let him out of bed to show me what it was he wanted. He wanted the phone so he could say goodnight to his Daddy who is at our new house tonight trying to get it ready for move in. I dialed for him and he had quite a conversation (mostly made up of “Daddy” and “yeah.”)
So, of course, it’s great that he initiated speaking with both his father and me, but what was really different was the pressure he was putting on himself to say the word “phone” and the energy he put into it.
Noah has proven he can do most anything he really, really wants to do. And as hard as he works at speech, I’m never sure just how much he wants to talk because he finds so many other ways to communicate, and speech takes such a HUGE effort on his part. So many times he tries to say a word and then gives up after one or two attempts, usually frustrated with me because I’m trying to make him do something he really doesn’t care to do once he realizes how difficult it is. The other night he wanted to do it more than he wanted to give up.
I really want to help Noah’s attempts at speech be succesful. i think if we can channel his attempts in such a way that they end up feeling successful to him, this kind of effort and persistence on his part will continue; but if they end in his perceived failure, he will stop trying. Oy. So difficult because my courageous hero gets very frustrated with me when I say “Good job” too enthusiastically. I hate to say it, but I think he really doesn’t like feeling like his efforts are a result of being manipulated by his mother.
(No pun intended.)