I don't know who is having a harder time with speech therapy: me or Diego. He has been going to his therapy sessions once a week for 4 sessions now and the only new word he has said is "cookie".
Speech therapy is different than I expected it to be. We arrive for the session and Diego is taken to a room with the speech therapist while I wait for him in a waiting room for 40 minutes. The last 5 minutes are then spent with the therapist summarizing to me what she observed during the session. And the session itself? Well, I don't know because the door is closed, but when walking by I can hear her talking. She told me that she has spent many-a-session just talking the entire time (in general, she wasn't specifically speaking about Diego's sessions).
When she said that, I admired her for being so chatty. I often I wonder if Diego has this speech issue because I'm just not chatty enough.
Back in my college days I had a part time job working at the Fraud department of Bank of America. There was an older black woman from the South who also worked there: Ms. Lily May. Man could that woman TALK! She talked for hours and days on-end. She would amuse me with her uncanny ability to come up with the perfect sayings for any topic, which I would later note that Dr. Phil can also do. Is it a southern thing?
"Give a man enough rope, and he'll hang himself" is just one example of things she'd say.
My point is that if I knew where Lily was today, I would call her up and tell her that I knew the perfect profession for her! Lily May: speech therapist.
I'm sure there's more to it than just talking though. Diego's therapist seems to have a different agenda each session. During the first session she focused on getting him to sign, and she said he was signing "more" by the end of the session. The second session, he seemed to regress and was shy around her. The third session, she was noting the exact consonant/vowel combinations that he was capable of and honed in on those, and the fourth session she tried to get him to imitate sounds, but he didn't do it for her. This surprised me because he's great at making monkey, dog, and even fish sounds. When she handed me some cue cards to take home I realized that the sounds she was going for were different than what he was used to. For example: he knows dog as "wow-wow" not "woof-woof".
I feel like they just don't know or understand Diego yet and 40 minutes is a small amount of time in the grand scheme of things. Unfortunately I wouldn't be able to devote additional time since I'll be heading back to work and these sessions are going to require me to sneak away during my lunch hour. I'm doing what I can to help him with his speech. Here are couple of helpful tips I've received since speech therapy began:
-If your son is within hearing distance, talk to yourself about what either of you are doing. E.g. "Diego pick up ball", "Diego throw ball", "Mama wash dishes" (Don't be afraid to sound like a Neanderthal!)
-If you don't understand what your son is saying when he speaks gibberish don't pretend to (even if you know what he wants) say, "I don't understand what you're saying." shrug your shoulders and try to get him to vocalize a little more before you give him what he wants.
Even with four sessions under our belt, he is still just getting to know his speech therapist so it's too early to expect any real results. And yet I was a little miffed to receive Diego's progress report. It was a formal request for Diego's pediatrician to provide an updated prescription for continued speech therapy. OK fine. But in the summary were written the words: "Expressive language disorder" and although that's probably a term that is often used for anyone needing speech therapy - I still wanted to use "Expressive Language" in a "disorderly" way when I read that! What mom wouldn't?
Me Shirley, Me no like speech therapy! (Grunt!) - Shirley
Diego's Speech Therapy Goals:
- Imitate/produce consonant/vowel combinations and be able to imitate 80% of the time.
- Learn functional sign language to express needs 80% of the time.
- Label nouns 80% of the time.
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