I’ve mentioned a few times about how Small Fry is a late talker. Most kids, by their 2-year well child checkup, are speaking fairly clearly in 2-3 word sentences. When Small Fry had his appointment back in July, he was barely saying “yes,” “no,” “mama,” and “dada.” He’s a bright kid – it’s clear in the way he does communicate (he picked up the signs I taught him lightning fast – as in, less than a day) and how he obeys and reacts to us. He’s not a dummy. He’s just not all that interested in talking. (With two older brothers who were always ready to jump at his every whim, there was no motivation to learn to talk.) So our doctor suggested we start him on speech therapy.
We’ve been doing that since September. Up until Christmas, we were going in weekly, but the therapist is so pleased with his progress that she’s slowed us down to once every other week. (This is also to make sure we can get the most number of weeks out of the insurance. They’ll pay for 30 visits a year, and at every week, that would barely cover half a year. At every other week, we’ll get all the way through 2015.)
He loves going to speech therapy. Every time I tell him it’s a speech therapy day, he gets very excited and starts signing “Thank you” over and over. His therapist pushes him hard and doesn’t allow him to be lazy at all. She’ll back off right away if he’s getting frustrated – after all, the point is to get him talking, not scare him away from it – but she’s not afraid to push him right up to his limit. And she’s taught me how to push him in the right ways at home. She’s explained to me how learning to talk happens and how the brain processes the information. She helped me to teach him his vowel sounds first, and then we moved on to his consonants. (The vowel sounds were really cool, because his name starts with a vowel. He now refers to himself by his first initial all the time. It’s really cute.) He’s even got a new favorite game using words he can say on his own. It’s Red Light, Green Light, but we call it Go, No. It’s great to see him succeed on both sides of the game – as the runner and the speaker.
He still doesn’t talk like a 2 1/2 year old. He barely talks like a 2-year-old. But he is now much better at putting sounds together, and he’s even starting to make short sentences. (Dada, go! Dada, eat! Mama, no!) And we can teach him a new word, one sound at a time, and within just a few minutes, he can say it. It’s a bit choppy (“buh-sss” for bus, “tuh-ee” for tea), but the word is recognizable. And that’s really encouraging.