Monday, February 14, 2011

Language Delays

OK I'll start with the disclaimer.  I am always vigilently looking for things I should address with the kids.  Not because I want something to be wrong--goddess knows I do not. But I also know that I suffered from ostrich syndrome with Chet. Well a bit of sticking my head in the sand and a LOT of not knowing that his behaviors were not typical.  (and all parents of special needs kids have those adult friends who say things like: "Oh ALL kids do that dear. . . why little Joey when HE was 3. .. . )  And I had no other children that i had parented, and hey I wanted with all my heart to believe my child had no issues.  It wasn't my smartest decision.  Though in all reality I don't know that most of my decisions would have been different.

However, that is a long winded way of saying I am making sure I don't walk down that road again. That if my kids need help they get help.  From more than me if needed.  So when Lissa seemed to have language delays she was tested. About 6 weeks ago to be exact.  She was found to be "practically perfect in every way," to quote Mary Poppins.  And a little part of me sighed with relief.  OK maybe a big part.

Except that my 4 year old daughter still said "lell-ow" for yellow.  She said "fourteen" for thirteen.  I thought she was miscounting but she said fourteen twice because that is how she says BOTH numbers.  There are other words that are the same too.  Shirt and skirt remained identical. 

All of which left me with the nagging feeling that this is not necessarily normal and I needed to do something.  However clearly my answer was not going to lay in the medical community. Also my company was just sold, we have new health insurance and are wading through unfamiliar waters there as well. 

I watched Lissa when she said those words incorrectly and I could really clearly see that her mouth position was just way off.  The tongue was in the wrong place.  Her front teeth actually go over her bottom lip and she sort of sucks it in when she says the thirteen/fourteen word. 

So I decided we would just do language OT here at home.  (disclaimer here that this has all been shooting from the hip and has not a shred of basis in any medical study or theory that I personally  know of)  Also it helps to not be afraid to sort of look like an ape as what I did was overly and veeeeery slowly exaggerate the sounds that are incorrect.  And I broke it syllabically.  I spend many moments saying "yellll  yellllll yellll" and initially she was fearful (I strongly suspect she has known something was wrong and didn't know how to fix it)  She would let me do the first part and then add "OH."  Which I let happen for a while and then got her trying to say "yell" as loud as she could.  Hey my daughter is all about loud, might as well use it to my advantage!  It worked!  She mostly says yellow like the rest of the English speaking world now.  And when she messes up it is usually the habit that is a mental default when she is in a hurry.  I'll say "what was that you were saying" and she can back up and self correct.  Huge!  And a huge sigh of relief for me because she can process it, she can learn it and she can do it.  I knew she was comprehending but the other 2 aspects I was not real sure about.

We are working on "thirteen" now (because frankly that number has to be mastered if she is going to progress in counting!)  I think she pretty much knows almost to 20 and this road block is stopping that.  So this weekend we started working on that.  Even Kirsty can't really keep a straight face when she looks at the overly done facial things that I do when we are learning it.  She is the one who said I look fairly simian when I am doing this! But it works so I'll settle for being a happy mama monkey!  But I don't really know how well this getting  help from others goal is working!  LOL


Thorn said...

Mara dropped "lellow" about six weeks ago and I kind of miss it! She still has "firteen, furteen" though. I know her old speech therapist would say "Look at my face and lips!" and that's how they focused on making new sounds. There's also a speech therapy blog I read (something about Super Powers in the name; I can find it for you) where you could probably search for her problem sounds and see some games she uses to get kids to work on those.

And this isn't just "Little Joey is 3 and does that!" Lissa is a whole year (nine months? I forget) older than Mara and Mara's still on the low-average side for speech for her age. But I honestly do find it heartening that every example you chose is one that we see.

Do you think there's a way to work with it as you're dealing with letters? "Y says yeh like yeh yeh yellow!" It's going to be harder for combo sounds. I still don't know when "foon" will transfer over to "spoon" but I'm not really worrying as long as she can make the basic sounds, you know?

It think it just sounds like you love Lissa and are looking out for her, which is no surprise!

Anonymous said...

Here's the blog I was recommending. She was recently chosen as one of the top 20 speech therapy blogs, so that gives you a link to 19 more!