In November of last year we started speech therapy with Cardin and in the months following we have seen great improvement in her speech. When we started this whole process she had a vocabulary of maybe a dozen words and communicated to us using gestures, grunts, and some very rough sign language. Listen Lady, she could moo like a bitch though.
At the time of her initial evaluation she was rated on two levels. 1) Receptive language, that is, her understanding of what we were telling and showing her and 2) Expressive language, her ability to verbally communicate this back to us. She scored at a 3-4 year old level for her receptive level, meaning that, what she was taking in was far above the average for her age. Clearly pointing to pictures of animals hundreds of times was working at some level. On the flip side, her expressive language was low and she was not performing at a level of where she should be for a child her age; as demonstrated by her caveman-like grunting. The gap between the expressive and receptive knowledge was too great.
It has been a long road, one where Brett and I had to learn to change our teaching behavior also, but Cardin is now speaking in full sentences and has completely removed all gestures and grunting from her communication skills. We no longer rely on any sign language and she has even begun to ask questions. Albeit we have so far avoided the death spiral of”WHY MOMMY?”
Her pronunciation is a little rough and she often utilizes the wrong pronoun, but that will grow with more experience. The majority of what she expresses can be understood by others and not just our learned ear.
She has even learned her ABC’s; she sings them best if you do them with her, otherwise they sound something like a drunken slur and you usually only catch “ABCTUVWXYZ”. I suppose those are the only important letters. She can count from 1-3 with no problem, though still doesn’t understand how to tell people she is going to be three because how do you have the coordination to hold up just three fingers. I bet Sarah Palin couldn’t do it either.
To think back at where we were a few months ago and see the progress and development that has occurred is astounding. To know that I helped carve out her language skills and she has yet to use one of mommy’s more derogatory, off-color remarks is amazing in itself. When she spits out a new sentence at me, I’m at first taken aback, unable to answer, as I process this whole formation of new words she has learned to string together…even if they happen to be ones that are directed at telling me off.