Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Using his words


Ethan has been thrilling us lately with his progress in speech and language. His new speech therapist (now 5 min. away!) is really encouraged by his latest attempts at speech and just can't believe how far he has come since summer. We were looking over the speech goals written by his former therapist last fall and he has met nearly all of them. I remember those sessions over the summer well and it seemed like there was never much to report to the therapist. Now I go in each week with a at least 2 or 3 new things Ethan has done or said. He has increased the number of words he can consistently and articulately say and he is beginning to put 2 words together as well. 

For the most part we've found that his speech requires a great deal of prompting, but in recent days we've seen signs of spontaneous language that has just blown our socks off. We were at the playground and Ethan wanted Rich to go down the slide. Rather than his usual method of pulling your hand in the direction he's aiming for, he just looked at Rich and said "dad slide." Rich was taking Ethan out to the car to go to school recently and Ethan spontaneously said "silver car."  This is stuff for the memory books! 

His new therapist is just incredible. Her background is in working with deaf and hard of hearing children. She is a fluent signer (but knows just when not to use sign) and has a really bright and cheerful disposition. I find her incredibly easy to talk to and we've had some great discussions generating ideas of how to pull more language from Ethan based on his strengths and his interests. I adore her and so does he. She makes a point of acknowledging the incredible amount of work that goes into this for Ethan. He is a very hard-working little boy. None of this comes naturally or easily to him not only because he is a deaf child using a cochlear implant, but because he has a fairly significant case of apraxia. That double whammy makes the job of speaking exponentially more difficult than it would be if he were either just deaf or just apraxic. 

I should say that if he were taking huge strides in developing his sign language, I think I would be equally pleased. He seems to be favoring speech over sign for the moment so it might become frustrating for all of us since he is so difficult to understand. Hopefully he'll continue to use sign for those moments; I think that he would if I started using more sign with him myself. Our therapist reminds us (and we are keenly aware) that language development is what's most at stake now, and that can be speech or sign. He has the rest of his life to work on articulation, but now is the time to see to it that he develops language. It's much to think about. 



Edited to Add!!
We just got an unsolicited "dad's silver car"
First time he's said 3 words together clearly. 
Wow!!


15 comments:

Kyla said...

Way to go E-boy!

Kel said...

That is such fabulous news!

She said...

I got chills reading this. WAY TO GO, E-BOY!

And, need I mention as I do every time I'm here, HOW HOLY COW CUTE THAT BOY IS!!!

KC said...

3 words! He is such the stud. And your therapist sounds amazing.

flutter said...

this makes me so happy!!

Anonymous said...

Ethan's speaking reminds me of my children as "new speakers" and it was difficult to understand them too (and they could hear). I also think of one grandson in particular who was hard to understand for a long time. So with all of Ethan's obstacles, this is pretty amazing. Right on, folks!

Grandma Innis

leah said...

Rock on, Ethan! He sure has a lot of tenacity- he's had to work for every word. He just seems to be thriving in his school environment and with his therapists. And with his stellar, A+ parents!

Aliki2006 said...

That's fantastic! Definitely stuff for the memory books...

Drew's Mom said...

Wonderful! Awesome! Fabulous! What other words can I use. I am just so, so happy for you. And the little guy.

Mom to Toes said...

Hi Heather! I have been horribly out of the loop lately and I'm just catching up on blogs. Ethan is growing up so fast! He is so adorable.

I am thrilled for you with his progress! And so happy you seem to have found the right combination of services for him. I bet he really starts progressing faster than you can keep up!

Here It Comes said...

Absolutely amazing progress! It seems like once they get passed those first few words strung together it starts coming so much more easily. At least, that is what we saw with Emmi. As soon as she mastered two words together, a whole slew of two word phrases followed. The same with each step up. Of course, like you mentioned, understanding those phrases is another thing altogether.... Emmi, too, has an added speech issue with the VPI. We keep being told her speech will never be clear, but lately more and more people can understand her. I am actually about to post a video!

Anyway, I am just thrilled to read that Ethan has made so much progress!

Val said...

yea, go Ethan, go Ethan! sounds like a good therapist too

Kristina White said...

Wow! That's all I have to say, Wow! Amazing Ethan leaves us speechless again! I bet you have a huge grin on your face based on this for a while. I have to call you....

Paula Rosenthal said...

Sometimes a new therapist can make all the difference in the world. Your son is just precious and putting 3 words together is a big accomplishment. I remember vividly the days when my daughter did single, double, triple, etc. words together. When she strung 7 words together I stopped counting! LOL It is an exciting time for both your family and for him personally. Congrats! :)

She said...

Somedays, I just need to come here and check in and see His ROYAL Cuteness! Gives me something to smile about! Love.