One of the first sounds Noah made was mmmmm. Yet now as he is adding other sounds to his bag of tricks, his mmmmmm has disappeared. I say mmmmm, Noah says buh. It’s interesting, because both sounds are made with the lips pressed together. It appears he can get in the starting position, but then his brain goes one way and his lips go the other. Classic apraxia, don’t you think?
Miss L, Noah’s awesome speech therapist has a little tool she grabbed when he first started losing his M’s. She calls it the tickler, and actually when he was 3 his ECI SLP gave us one. It didn’t do him a lick (no pun intended) of good back then – Noah had lots of fun taking it apart and hiding the batteries, though. Now it seems to be just the thing he needs. Miss L was getting lots of great Ms out of him today. She sees what I see, that sometimes he needs to reset his memory and motor coordination. And of course I think we’re both seeing the disconnect between his brain and his mouth at times. Apraxia again, I believe. I’m learning a lot by watching Miss L, once she can get him to produce a M sound, she gets him to keep on producing it over and over again. I can just see those little speech pathways in his brain being established and grounded.
What really excited me, though, is that even after we got home, he was still able to produce the M sound on command. It was starting to fade by evening, and I think it will probably be gone tomorrow. But I’m going to pull out our electric toothbrush and see if I can get the same effect by placing the barrel horizontally on his lips. That’s really all the tickler is.
Other Noah News – Puzzles, Noah LOVES puzzles. At the beginning of the school year, I remember looking at one of those wooden simple puzzles where the pieces are in random shapes but they fit together and thinking, How is Noah EVER going to learn to do one of those? He just seemed so clueless. I had even bought him a box of two-piece puzzles with around the house pictures and vocabulary on them, and again, I realized even that was over his head. We’ve worked on puzzles this year – a lot of puzzles. Him taking the pieces, me pointing to where they belong. Him setting the piece in the right place, me turning it until it fit. The other day he took out one of those wooden puzzles and put it together, pieces in the right spot, turning them until they matched up pattern-wise and shape wise, and he finished it without any help from me. What a difference nine months makes! He also works his way through about half of the box of the two-piece puzzles, and we get to work on a ton of great vocabulary while he’s at it.
Colors – When we started the school year, Noah was working on color matching file folder games. By January I think he was matching colors correctly about 70 percent of the time. Now it’s more like 95%, and I’m convinced the other 5% of the time is not because the skill is not mastered, it’s because the little Master is bored and is looking for a little excitement and break from the monotony of matching color to color.
What else? Noah can gallop now, and he’s going up the stairs one foot per stair instead of two. He couldn’t do either one of those things when he started hippotherapy in January. His stair skills would emerge and then disappear and then emerge and disappear again.
Miss L has been doing a lot of turn-taking work with him, and Noah can now play games with me or his siblings and he does a great job waiting his turn.
My friend, Michele, who used to come and work with him taught him the opposite pair clean and dirty. Now on a pretty regular basis Noah gets the cleaning rags and spray and finds things to clean. THANKS MICHELE, I owe you big time!!!!
Noah is making great progress with the Kaufmann cards and has recently added M and T words to his stack. I’m trying to teach him the memory game but am realizing we probably need to stick with leaving all the cards face up for a while.
Noah has been “reading” to himself lately, and vocalizes a lot while he “reads.” Hallelujah!!! This is a HUGE milestone, and it is such a blessing to hear sounds where there once (for almost four years) were none. He can repeat back sounds associated with the letter a, b, d, e, g, h, i, m, n, o, p, t, and w. G, m, n seen to come and go at times, but even now as I look at that list of letters I am overwhelmed with all he has learned in the past year.
His hand-eye coordination has improved tremendously, as now he can outline a shape by squeezing glue out of a small bottle, and he can also use a bingo dauber to fill in circles on a printable. There are many crafts he has been able to participate in, and he probably does about 75% of the work on most of his crafts. This has been such an encouragement to both him and to me, as I am seeing glimpses that reassure me that he is capable of accomplishing what he has set out to do, he is educable, he is growing in wisdom and stature.
I think what I’ve learned most of all this school year is that letting other people work with Noah is necessary for him to achieve greatness. There are people who can see things in Noah that I cannot, strengths and weaknesses, opportunities, gaps. I want to know it all, be it all, but this is finally something I cannot do or be. And that’s okay. I’m learning that that’s okay. I thank God for good medical insurance, good therapy facilities – YAY Family Connections Center in Dripping Springs!!! – good alternative therapies – YAY Red Arena in Dripping Springs for Noah’s hippotherapy, friends, family, and a church who welcomed ALL of us with open arms. I thank God for the bloggers who encourage me, inspire me and are an endless source of practical wisdom. Honestly, I don’t buy the whole “It takes a village to raise a child” philosophy, but at least for this one child of mine, it is taking a village.
These updates may seem a bit long and tedious, but I have to do them. I have to see in black and white where we’ve been and where we are, because it lights the way for where we are going.
Thanks for sharing in that.