We just finished our first round of therapy at KidTalk, the speech therapy program at Vanderbilt University. I have to say, I am amazed at the change I already see in Grayson.
He's had three real sessions, two there and one at home yesterday. During the sessions at the university, we have been learning our first strategies. Our biggest concern right now is stepping back and letting G take the reigns in play and in communication. We've been focusing on back and forth conversation, where we put a word to something that he says. If he's being very quiet, we mirror his actions and name them. We're not supposed to ask questions unless we just really have to throughout the day.
I didn't see a whole lot of response from him until we did our first home session. He just lit up. I'm guessing he was more relaxed at home, or maybe he was paying more attention to the words rather than the cool new toys at the university. But my boy, my little boy with only ten words he'll attempt, said "push" and "ball" for the first time. When he would say the word without getting the first sound correct, she would get him to focus on making the sound and often he'd then get it right. I was amazed that he even tried intimidating. I was even more amazed at his attempts to correct himself and pronounce the sound.
I might have cried right then. Just a little.
His therapist's assessment of him is right on par with ours. He's a thinker and he contemplates everything. He's incredibly sweet and often hilarious. He loves to be helpful and clean up after himself, often doing so without being asked. He's passive to a fault, sometimes giving up too quickly or being too comfortable with how things are, which is at least part of the reason he hasn't started talking much yet.
One thing we learned, that was kind of hard to swallow, was her confidence that he will need even more speech therapy. This program focuses on motivating children to talk and giving them (and their parents) the tools to start talking. She sees it as a great stepping stone to transition G into real speech therapy, where you work on actual phonemes, in the future. I guess I was hoping he'd get it after some practice. People kept talking about that magical switch that would flip one day, and G would start talking like most of the other kids his age. But it doesn't happen like that. My kid has trouble talking. That doesn't go away overnight.
Here is an updated list of what G says:
Bak, bak (like a chicken, ba ba)
Baa (like a sheep)
Since he's turning 27 months next week, it's not near long enough of a list. But I'm so so proud of my buggy. He's been doing so well with his therapy, really paying attention and being so cooperative. Most of those words he's learned in the past month, so clearly him and language are clicking better.
I can't wait to see what else he can do in this program. And even if G needs years of speech therapy, we'll be there with him step by step, cheering at every new words he says and every new sound he learns.