Alex’s therapy ended on August 1st. Since the therapist was moving out of town, we opted to let things go for a while and see how he did on his own rather than to get set up with another therapist. He’s done very well. I suspect that the therapy was as much for me as it was for Alex as it taught me how to talk to him to encourage him to say things, so we’ve been able to continue on in our own way. My main goal was to get him talking enough to eliminate most of the temper-tantrums, and that goal had already been met.
Alex has begun speaking some sentences. We first noticed how much more he was talking when I went to visit my parents around Labor Day. When they came here in early October, it was reinforced even more. Alex even carried on a “conversation” with my mother at one point:
- Alex: Gamma
- Grandma: What
- Alex: We play?
- Grandma: OK. What do you want to play?
- Alex: Blocks
Alex will ask us “Where are you going?” or “What are you doing?”. He knows that saying “Mama” or “Da” will make us pay attention to him. He still will often point and whine rather than talk, but we are coaxing him into saying the words by not giving him what he wants until he says it (to a reasonable degree, anyway).
I’m also trying to get him to speak some of his words more clearly. For example, he will say “Uh”, when he wants up. I started coaxing him to say the ‘P’ sound as well and now about 75% of the time he says “Up” correctly. Most words I just repeat the correct word without really correcting him. “Popcorn” sounds more like “pa-cone”, Alex is “A-ick”, Peanut is “e-nut”, and “Play-doh” is “ay-doh”. He seems to get the first “P” sound in popcorn, but drops it in most other words. “R”s are always hard for kids, so that one is no surprise. I didn’t realize the ‘L’ could be difficult.
Of course there are the times when he simply says the wrong thing: Mama: Do you need a time-out? Alex: Yes! Which, of course, causes his little butt to be placed into the Pack-N-Play, at which point he promptly starts to cry.
He is really good at saying hello and good-bye. “Thank you” is a sometimes remembered, sometimes forgotten item. “Please” is practically nonexistent. “You’re welcome” is fairly consistent. In fact, sometimes he says “You’re Welcome” after he himself says “Thank you”. (It’s like he’s reminding us!) Alex actually started the “Thank you” thing on his own, and we just are trying to keep it going now.
As a side note – When he asks for peanuts, he always goes looking for the metal 1/2 M&M case that we gave him a couple of times with peanuts in it. Apparently that the only thing we can use for peanuts now.