It’s been a long time since I’ve updated about speech-related ANYTHING. Piper’s always been a quiet kid- even her excited SCREAM is pretty tame. She’s very conscientious about her surroundings (and people in it) and is quick to go into quiet mode if she’s shy, playing shy, or thinks she should be shy.
However, the past couple months we have seen a HUGE change. Talking to her pediatrician last week, we’re thinking it’s because with the very significantly compromised airway, she was never able to to get enough airflow past her vocal cords to actually make any sound. Which means that she never got to experiment with making different sounds, the first steps to “speech”.
Don’t get me wrong- Piper has always cried and fussed (although I will admit that when she first came home from the hospital, she slept in our room and I STILL used a baby monitor IN Her basinet to be sure I didn’t miss something). She has very obvious happy, sad, and mad noises that she makes. But it’s those babble sounds that she was never particularly good at.
We had Piper’s IFSP the end of December- the only big change is that we’re going to up her speech therapy from once a month to once a week. It’s a (hopefully) short term increase (we’re hoping to decrease to every other week in a few months) to encourage Piper to accept Gretchen, the therapist. Most the time when she came over, Piper would just sit and smile at her. She’d sign, play, all that jazz, but never make a sound. No pouts, no hollers, no attempts at babbles. Which goes back to that “she’ll talk if she’s darn well in the mood, thankyouverymuch” category. And if she’s not participating, we’re not getting very far. Since she’s got a healthy vocabulary, it’d be nice to start hearing that little voice.
The timing couldn’t be more perfect- I think she’s “there” and ready, and now that’s she doesn’t have to think about walking any more, hopefully things will start to fall into place with speech.
So today was the second week of once-a-week visits with Gretchen, and I think it’s starting to work. Piper didn’t vocalize a whole lot today (surprise), but she DID make sure she showed Gretchen ALL of her toys. I’m hoping that maybe this is step toward rapport and things’ll start getting more productive.
She’s mimicking so much more than she was even a month ago. She’s starting to learn the actual mechanics of HOW to make noises, which is something that should have happened MONTHS ago. I couldn’t be more proud of her progress! She’s a PRO at anything with the ‘oo’ sound (she’ll answer to “What does a cow say?” and “What does a dog say”, and she’ll copy most words if they have the ‘oo’ sound). This is a pretty tame example, but you can see the exaggerated lip posture here- makes me laugh every. time.
The past few days, though, she’s actually said REAL words. Every syllable. Every consonant, and every vowel. “Daddy” (with the Y, not Dada) came the other day, as well as “up” (with a perfect “puh” on the end).
My jaw hit for the floor last night when ‘BALLOON’ fell out of her mouth. Clear. As. A. Bell.
That’s my girl.