Friday, April 24, 2009

Speech therapy

Yesterday was Dima's first speech therapy session. I loved it! Even more importantly, HE loved it!

His speech therapist has picked a starting sound for him to work on--"t". He can say the "t" sound, and he can say it in words, but it tends to get lost in conversation. So for example, Dima can say "cat" but a phrase like "Where is the cat?" comes out "Where ca?" This is part poor motor planning (being able to get the muscles of your mouth to work the way your brain is telling you to) and part poor speech habits developed most likely through neglect at a young age. Speech therapy is going to work on strengthening and training his mouth muscles as well as helping him listen and plan his speech correctly.

Dima's speech has already been improving remarkably over the past few months, and I know the social environment at school is a big factor in that. While I'm not fond of all of the behaviors he picks up at school, the sheer amount of verbal interaction is a huge help to him. In fact, this week at dinner was the first time I have ever heard him use the word "the" correctly in a sentence, unprompted.

Most of Dima's speech is hard to understand because he leaves out so many articles and other words that to him are minor but make a huge difference in the clarity of his communication. We are, in many ways, somewhere around a 2-3yo speech pattern. "Mama, cat!" "Look, truck red" He has made tremendous improvements, and when he's paying attention and not tired he's getting closer to a 3-4yo in his speech. But we've still got a long ways to go.

I think that most likely without speech therapy he would eventually have normal or near-normal speech. But why would we withhold a resource from him that can do nothing but help him? So for the rest of the school year, he will be doing speech therapy 1x per week, and once school is out he will be going 2x per week. Pray for me, if you don't mind. I'll have 3 kids in the waiting room with me during one of those sessions. ;) Perhaps I can get Danielle's and Emily's therapies scheduled at the same time. :) :)

Which brings me to a question. How do I explain to Zhenya why he doesn't get to go play at therapy like the other kids? He already asks why he doesn't get to go like Dima, but it's only going to get worse when he's the only one not going. He's going to think he's being punished. :) :)


Tami said...

Hmmm...unfortunately I don't have any great advice. All of our kids are in speech therapy, except for Alek who has since tested out - which he was THRILLED about! :)
I would suggest just talking to him about it...and explain it plain and simple. 'Your brother and sisters need to get some extra help in learning how to say words. You do a great job of saying your words, so you don't need to go right now. You're not being punished for anything...its just that you already know how to say your words so you get some extra free time.' If you make it a fun time, where he possibly gets to spend some one-on-one time with dad while you're at therapy, or can play with a special toy while there, maybe that will help.

The Flying Eagle said...

ice cream. It is the answer to all difficult parenting situations :-) Just kidding! But maybe you can find something close by that you and Zhenya can do "just special" will the others are at speech. I would talk to them now about making the girls appointments, that way they can book you in advance and really get them all together!! I still have a large bag of stuff in the car for you - let me know if there is a good night that I can drop it off.

his wife, their mama said...

It looks like you have some good advice. Ivie was always encouraged to be a part of the play, just on the sidelines. I think Ivie contributed a lot to Elly's speech progress, but she did, at times, hinder Elly (since she's a complete first born!!). We would explain to Ivie that it's Elly's special time to play so she can learn more words. We would have to continue to remind Ivie of that, but she always responded well to our simple explanation. I am so glad that Dima enjoyed his first session and I hope he continues to do so; can't wait to hear of his continued progress. Oh, Elly's done so well for almost 18 months that she's done, she's right where she needs to be!!

Tina said...

Courtney, I will pray for you about having 3 kiddos with you in the waiting room! If I had all the time in the world (and that is the recurring dream!), I would totally come with you and help keep them entertained! I agree that you have been given some great advice up there about being real with Zhenya. I will not speak much about the topic since the extent of my child-rearing pertains to creatures with paws, shedding hair, and sometimes, as Ryan likes to say..."rocks for brains". :)

adoptedthree said...

My therapist allows the others to participate in some of the activities with O, as long as they behave! It is then a win/win for all!