a while back i posted our concerns with rowan's speech development. we had him evaluated and were not shocked when we received the news that he had a speech delay. we started a little more than six months ago.
at the start of therapy, rowan had about a dozen words or sounds that we recognized as words for specific things(for example, "nana" is his word for milk).
like most child-rearing experiences, this process has been not what we anticipated it to be. we have a bright, healthy and curious little guy! our intial thoughts were that the therapist would come in, give some tips and advice. and with a little help, rowan would be talking in no time! yeah, nope.
at the start, it felt like we were making no progress at all! it was difficult to get him to stay engaged long enough to implement any of the strategies and techniques recommended to us. outings with him were a little stressful because he was all over the place!
We soon discovered that Rowan had some sensory issues. He is a sensory seeker. In the simplest terms, he needs lots of sensory stimulation-physical activity, touch, etc-in order to center himself enough to process the world around him. This factored heavily into the speech issues. We needed to really work on getting him centered and able to focus before we could even work on the speech aspect. Three or four months were spent trying to figure out what sensory stuff worked and what didn't. slowly we started seeing improvements. he sought out storytime. bringing book after book over to have me read to him. he would sit and build with his legos, play with his trains, and "talk" to his stuffed animals.
those gains were amazing! but, we still weren't seeing any improvement in his speech. we got into the habit of saying things over and over and over. emphasizing simple words. "up" "down" "on" "off" "eat" "go" "cup" and so on. initially, i felt a bit silly. but, the more i did it the more of a habit it became. our ST is always encouraging and reassuring. she seemed happy with his progress. while not adding any new words, he was becoming more verbal and making more complex sounds.
it's been a sometimes frustrating and incredibly humbling journey. we are doing all we can but this speech thing will happen when it happens. there isn't anything else we can except to continue the things we've been doing.
last week i posted this picture to instagram with the caption "it's all good until he realizes the buses are not coming home with us"
we were at story time in a local bookstore and the kids regularly enjoy playing with the toys. buses and trucks are his most favorite things on the planet and i was mentally preparing myself for the scene that would probably happen when he had to leave them behind.
we know ro has an excellent grasp of language but he gets really frustrated when he's unable to express or get us to understand his feelings. so, meltdowns are things that happen with regularity. also, he's two! i tried to prepare him by telling a few times that we were leaving soon and we needed to leave the buses for other kids to enjoy. and so, he played. made friends with another little kid and played some more. i set the timer on my phone to let him know we had to leave when it beeped. just before the timer went off he looked up at me and said, "bus". (it sounded more like ush. but i knew what he meant!)he repeated it several times! i started crying in the middle of the bookstore and trying to get my phone out so i could get it on video to send doug! this is the first new word he's added to his vocabulary since we started therapy!! he smiled and laughed! he was so pleased with himself.
he has worked hard for every sound and syllable. he's been so good-natured and sweet through countless evaluations and appointments. we are so proud of him! obviously, i bought the damn bus!