Tuesday, Bobby had his first therapy appointment. Our speech therapist, J, came at 8am, and immediately, we all liked her. She was wonderful. She sat down in the playroom, addressed both kids by name, looked at them when she talked to them, and in moments, they both treated her like an old friend. At one point, Bobby even sat in her lap (briefly) which I never would have expected. We're looking forward to a positive relationship with her.
Since implementing some of the techniques that the assessors recommended, we've noticed some changes in Bobby. I took away his sound toys, which were his favorites. It killed me, but they felt that he went back to these toys whenever he was frustrated. Instead of working on his frustration, he just let it go and played with something he knew he'd have in the bag. Can't express what you want? Just let it go, and play with your map toy. You can identify the states now without even working hard at it! So, away the electronics went. He searched for them for a bit, but then began playing with other things... and verbalizing more.
For example, he has rarely said yes. He would repeat things, but getting a yes answer was pretty much a no. Now, when asked if he wants something, he'll answer yes if he does. Big step.
No is another no-no. He never says no. Ever. The other day, he shook his head when he didnt want something, rather than just ignoring us or fighting us on something. Amazing.
They are small things. He's a laid back kid, and we havent had a lot of the issues that parents have when a child isnt verbalizing. Our struggles have been minor, comparitively. But it's crazy to see that some small changes have brought forth bigger ones for him. Even today, when he was struggling to verbalize something to me, instead of flipping out, he came over and hugged me. He was frustrated- we both knew it- but, instead of lashing out, he just buried his head against me and snuggled. It's a step in the right direction. I keep telling him that I'm trying and that, one day, it will be easier. It seems like he's understanding that now. And we're all getting better.
It's still tough to explain to Maya that she cant talk for him, that Bobby has to do it himself. She has been his voice for months and months- she still wants to be (and, frankly, he doesnt mind). But, just like Peter and I havent done him any favors by giving him what we 'know' he wants instead of having him verbally ask for it, she's not really 'helping' him by not making him do it himself.
It's a work in progress... But, thankfully, it feels like we're walking in the right direction.
I'm so proud of Mommy and Daddy, too! I know very well how huge it feels when they finally say "yes" (okay for Peanut it's more like a "yeeeah" despite our constant corrections of "YES") - but it took us 6 months of speech therapy before she uttered "yeh" for the first time. HUGE.
A hug when they are frustrated is huge, we do that, too. And we will try to verbalize her frustration ("I can see you feel mad. Do you feel mad?") Peanut can know say things like "I sad" though she uses it interchangably for when she is sad, mad, tired, pissed off, etc. But it's PROGRESS!
We also had a big problem with eye contact. Scary the lack of eye contact, and had us plunged into worries of autism. Some of our first few months of therapy were forcing her to make eye contact before she got anything, even before we could work on getting her to make any sounds.
Of course, Peanut isn't a laid back kid like Bobby, LOL. Lil Pumpkin doesn't so much as talk for Peanut, rather she fills up all open air with her own constant chatter, grrr.
I know it's heartbreaking and rough for the whole family. And sometimes when they give you a technique there is a bit of "duh, why didn't I think of that?!" And it was frustrating because here I had a VERY verbal child (LP) who I taught English to ... I imagine you have similar feelings because of Maya.
Keep plugging away. The advantages of the EI team are huge, and you are already noticing the changes!
Small steps are sometimes the most significant. The other day C drew me a picture- it had two round eyes, bunny shaped ears & two little stick legs. It was the best thing in the world. One of the first times he's drawn something that is kind of recognizable instead of his standard scribble that he says is a "storm" or a "tornado"
Small steps forward still get you ahead.
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