Friday, February 3, 2017

FINALLY....an Explosion in Speech!

For anyone who has followed me, or my journey with Jacob, you know that speech has been one of our biggest struggles.

Getting ready to go to speech therapy! 
Not only is he getting 30 minutes of speech at school each day, but he has another 30 minutes per week at a private agency.

Jacob's progress has been excruciatingly slow.  But there's been progress, nonetheless.  When he started at Youthful Horizons, he was essentially mute.  He didn't even grunt much.  We had him using Geminii system, but he got bored quickly.  And I think that's because the Geminii system is geared more towards people with Autism.  There was very little emotion in the programs, and it relied heavily on repetition.  All good things, don't get me wrong.  But he was bored. So we topped out on his progress pretty quickly, then backslid for a while. And, at $99/month for the program, we couldn't afford to keep using something that wasn't working.

About that time, we found Debbie at Youthful Horizons She and Jake have been an awesome fit.  She's mellow, nice, and she has all the best toys--at least Jacob seems to think so!

video
I've learned to appreciate the process of learning to talk.  First there is learning to push out air forcefully enough to make noise. Then you must learn to control your muscles enough to manipulate your lips enough to create specific sounds. And don't forget about placement of the tongue, jaw, and awareness of the cheeks, face, and other muscles.  All of these things had to be addressed in proper progression, while concurrently teaching him other means of communication via the PECS system and more sign language to enable communication RIGHT NOW.

Jacob is nearly 6 1/2 now.  Sign language is still his primary language, but now he's added a few words to his vocabulary.  He can say things like purple, bye, dad, mom (pronounced ba), Elisha (pronounced uheesa), he calls Courtney (seesa), bus, please (pronounced psss), blue (boo), there it is, that, dog, Craig (his PT), and occasionally, when he's in a good mood, I'll here his say Debbie.  13 words and 1 phrase. 

I'll TOTALLY take it!

videoAnd on those days when I'm frustrated that he still prefers to yell rather than use his words, I remind myself that we couldn't understand his older brother (who is normally functioning and actually quite smart) until he was 12! 

Patience, grasshopper.  Patience.