In the book “What’s Eating Your Child?”, the author Kelly Dorfman correlates that learning how to speak is a lot like learning a fancy dance routine. Some people are naturals … from day one, the moves come easy and they require minimal practice. But, for other people the twists, turns, and dips are far from second nature and they have to do the routine over and over again before they finally get it right.
But, guess what? I think we all know how this story ends. Once a person’s feet finally learn the motor movements, they are able to pull the dance off beautifully.
Call me a simple girl, but when I read this, it made me feel good. Even though my dance partner and I are going to have to work our butts off learning this routine, eventually we are going to nail it.
Practice makes perfect.
Jake’s brain has been soaking up a lot of knowledge these days: new words, pronouns, phonological awareness (rhyming and first letter sound recognition), addition, and fine motor skills.
Here’s a few other things that are going on in our world these days …
Last month I signed Jake up for Pre-K 4 at a private, half-day program. Thank goodness he will turn five one month after school starts, so he will be the oldest in his class. I went back and forth between half-day private vs. full-day public school, but at the end of the day, I just felt like this option was the better fit for us.
Jake is not currently in preschool, but I am totally loving the Imagine That! Kindermusik class that he is taking right now. We have done Kindermusik since he was two years old and I’ve always been a fan, but this class is absolutely phenomenal. For the first time, I feel like it is *more* than a music class and I have been in awe at how perfect the activities have been for his speech development.
I’m happy to report that Jake continues to improve with each and every speech therapy session. He can say 3-5 word sentences very good now and we are working on pronoun sentences and reading (or memorizing). He’s enjoying reading his first pages from Maria Fleming’s Little Leveled Readers series and Dick and Jane when he goes to see Grandma.
But, here’s the thing … the longer the sentence, the more motor planning it takes, and therefore words he could say by themselves or in a short sentence, will come out incorrectly. While I would love for him to be able to sing a whole song or recite a cute nursery rhyme, I cannot discount these beautiful sentences. I still feel complete elation with every single word. Complete. Joy.
Big news on the speech therapy front. In addition to Jake’s private speech therapy sessions, we are participating in a telespeech beta-test. So, two days a week Jake does speech therapy with a live SLP over the computer. We will be participating in this study through the end of May. Our “job” is to see how effective this solution is in a home environment. This SLP is working on /L/ words and the usage of “is” and “are” in sentences.
In regular therapy, Jake is working on /S/ blends and pronouns like “she,” “he,” and “they.” I love to see this boy say these words with hand cues; it doesn’t get old. Every single thing K does with Jake is a perfect fit for his challenges and I feel blessed that she is so intuitive with him. Here’s a few simple, but effective exercises she’s done to help build the motor planning required for longer sentences …
- Say target word first. Then, go through all words putting “I like _____,” or “I don’t like ____” in front of the word.
- Homework: Make two copies of the same sheet of target words. Jake colors one page blue and one page red. I cut the flash cards out and Jake goes through each set of words saying “blue ____,” and “red ____.”
While Jake is showing consistent progress with his speech, I am starting to wonder if he will ever stop saying “my” instead of “I.” He will self-correct when I point out his error or when I give him the hand cue for “I,” but for whatever reason, “I” or “I’m” will not spontaneously pop out of his mouth. Apparently, his brain is playing hard-ball with me on this one.