December 6, 2010

Show me a sign

          Time for another update on SB's progress. She continues to do really well in speech therapy. She loves going, and I am always amazed that a child her age will sit for 30 minutes and apply herself. She really gives her all in every session.
          Her speech therapist is awesome. She follows SB's lead and mood each day, and makes it work for her. Rather than going in to the session with a set agenda, she lets SB decide what activity they will participate in, and uses that as a learning opportunity. She formalizes it when she can, but is flexible and understanding.
          We are hearing a wide range of new sounds from SB. She is extremely verbal. She babbles all the time. Her difficulty is with turning sounds into words. And there are some sounds she simply cannot make yet, like "w." But she doesn't let that stop her. She uses the sounds she can make to approximate words. Saying, "dader" for "water," for example.
          SB has also become a signing fool. Her little hands are ever-busy instruments of conversation. It is all I can do to keep up with her. At the recommendation of her speech therapist, we purchased a set of Baby Signing Time DVDs with Rachel Coleman. SB is absolutely crazy about them. And in the span of about two weeks she added well over 125 signs to her vocabulary.
          I have really enjoyed learning to sign. It's fun, and incredibly helpful with SB in so many ways. SB often verbalizes when she wants something, but most of the time you would not know what word she was trying to say.
          Because her sounds are limited, she often uses the same ones in reference to different things. Or there are very subtle differences. Signing and speaking together helps me know exactly what SB is trying to convey. And she gets very excited when I can understand her.
          One area of concern we have is with SB's preschool. Right now, she is doing great. We recently had the first parent/teacher conference and received a glowing report. At this time, her speech delay has not presented any problems. Her teacher does not sign, but says she is actually learning from SB, and that SB is able to communicate very well what she wants or needs.
          At the end of the month, when SB turns two, she will move up to the next level. There she will be with children from two to three years old. And the gap in language ability could be wider and more obvious. We're not sure how SB, or her peers, will react.
          Also, the student/teacher ratio will be greater. And that teacher does not sign, either. So we have concerns about how much extra attention or time SB may require in the classroom. We plan to wait and see how it goes.
          We can't assume it will not go well. We need to give SB a chance. But, we don't want her to be in a situation that will cause her undue stress. The school director and the teachers are aware of SB's issues. So we will all watch carefully and assess what is best for her as we go along.
          I will also be touring a special preschool next week for children with speech issues. There could be many benefits to placing SB in a program like that now. We would prefer she be placed in a special program at this age and have the opportunity to be mainstreamed once she begins elementary school. That's quite a bit away still, and a lot can happen between now and then...


  1. It sounds like SB is highly motivated to communicate--that's 90% of the battle right there. You guys are approaching this with common sense and love. A combination like that is a winner. :)

  2. Early intervention makes such a huge difference in all the "delays". Kudos to you two!

  3. My daughter is also speech delayed and we were not as aggressive in teaching her sign language. She still uses her signs in addition to the words she knows. While she no longer goes to speech therapy, we did find that having her in a group of kids that were mostly her age (her last sitter had kids that were mostly 2 and 3 years her seniors)that she learned words as a faster pace.
    But SB is most fortunate to have you as her advocate. I continue to look forward to reading about her progress.

  4. @ Linda - SB is highly motivated period. It's a good quality in a child, I think.

    @ Kristina - That's what we keep hearing, so we are glad we took the steps we did.

    @ Mad Woman - When we first put SB in preschool, we were hoping being around other kids her age would help her talk. We have since learned her language issue is due to a problem with the muscles involved in speech. But, there are many other benefits, so we are glad we did it. I'll be sure to keep sharing updates!

  5. It is so wonderful to read that SB is making such lovely strides.

    When our Katie turned three, she had to transition over to the school system (up until that point, she received therapy here in our home). I was a wreck about the transition...I worried that it wouldn't be comfortable for Katie, who is somewhat reserved. I fretted over it so much, Elizabeth, I can't even begin to tell you how consuming it was.

    Within weeks of making the shift, Katie began to make bigger, more consistent strides than we had ever seen before. Who knows what we can attribute that to--new teacher, new environment, age--but what was scary has proven to be wonderful.

    I love that you have such a great mindset...that you believe that you "can't assume it will not go well."

    You are a wise woman and a wonderful advocate for SB.

  6. @ Nichole - Thank you! I know you have been and are going through this. It is so difficult. I HATE to see my child struggle. It hurts me. I understand the concerns you had for Katie. And I know we have a long road ahead. But her speech therapist is very encouraged by her progress. It would seem insignificant to most, but it is a very big deal for SB. We will just keep doing everything we can to support her and hope for the best...

  7. Hooray! I'm so glad it's going well!!!!

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