After spending half of November and most of December flying high because of Jake’s speech explosion, last week the familiar feel of fear snuck up on me again. After a laid- back holiday schedule, Jake’s speech regressed and my aggressive mama bear maternal instinct kicked in and I went into instant fix-it mode. My child will speak. Period. And I will do everything in my power to make this happen.
So, for the past week Jake has been in Apraxia Boot Camp and you guessed it, I’m his personal trainer. I set my goals high in order to instantly re-establish my rusty, but not forgotten habits. Unfortunately, as much as I dream of a perfect me, Jake and I do not reach our goals every day, but we absolutely try our best. And it is working! After one week of boot camp, Jake is back on track!
Here’s the hard-core, but effective approach I’m taking with my Lil’ Man …
Things Needed Before Beginning:
- Cash, credit, insurance, or a good combination of all three
- Coffee (or some other caffeinated beverage because you’re going to need a lot of energy!)
- Games and activities
- Patience, perseverance, and a whole lotta love
School & Speech Therapy for 2012:
- This week Jake started going to private therapy two times a week instead of just one. Each session is 30 minutes and he will continue working in The Kaufman Speech Praxis Workout Book. He will also continue working on pairs of words that strengthen his ability to put the final consonant at the end of a word.
- The past two weeks Jake has not been to public school group therapy because we were redistricted to a new school and I have been unsuccessful in coordinating a schedule with the SLP.
- Jake will continue attending preschool three mornings a week.
- Full dose of Juice Plus and a Flintstone vitamin everyday
- Less juice, more water
- Yogurt or probiotic daily
- No sugar or fast food and a balanced diet that includes as many fruits and veggies as possible.
- Juice a fresh fruit/veggie drink each day. I’ve never met a kid who doesn’t love to turn fruits and veggies into juice!
- Make Jake speak for everything he wants and make him say it to the best of his ability. For example, if he wants “juice,” don’t allow him to get away with just saying “water” followed by a shriek when he actually gets what he asked for. Say each word and make him repeat it. Say, “I. Want. Grape. Juice.” Make him say the /s/ sound at the end of juice instead of just “ju.”
- Be firm and make him say yes and no the correct way. Do not accept only a nod. Make him say “no” with a proper /n/ sound (right now he tends to use a /m/ sound) and break down “yes” into “ee-es.”
- Watch TV for a maximum of one hour per day. The last time I did this I went cold turkey and he watched zero television for an entire month. During this time, I felt like his language got so much better because he was forced to play, interact, and ask me for things that he needed help with.
- Lots of play time. (And ignore the housework that doesn’t get done).
- Give Jake independent activities to do while I cook dinner (play dough, coloring, and paint with water books).
- Three days a week for 15-30 minutes, drill Jake on the words that Ms. Kelly has been working on. If possible, play a game with him to make this fun, but if there’s no time, just have him say the words whenever the opportunity arrises.
- Play abcmouse.com as many times as he wants each week.
- Read books. Jake has always loved books, so this is something he does not let me slack off on … ever. Currently, I read him three books at nap and three at bedtime, but I need to use one of the books as a tool to strengthen his vocabulary. I can do this by pointing to objects and asking him, “What is that?” Right now he is very weak in this area, but his comprehension is perfect, which means he is able to point to anything I ask him to identify.
- Get plenty of sleep. Rest does the body good. Enough said.
- Make the most out of our time in the car by singing songs and listening to his new Kids’ Express Train CD.
After reviewing essentially a cleaned-up version of my to-do list, I realize my goals are a little over the top. But, this speech disorder forces me to bring out the big guns, so to speak. Part of me also questions, When does this child have time to just be a kid? I have purposefully taken note this week as my boys are running through the house and making my nerves frazzled, that he is having fun, even amongst all this hard work.
Although he struggles to communicate every second of every day, I know that he equally feels loved, secure, and happy. And, isn’t that all a mama bear can ask for?