We’ve been doing speech therapy for the Striderling for the last few months; at age two, his receptive language skills are almost right on track, but his expressive language has been at the level of a 9-12 month old. This can be OH so frustrating. When we started the speech therapy he wasn’t even shaking his head “yes” or “no” to things, which made it rather difficult to determine exactly what he wanted. I think we would have been in a harder place if it weren’t for the sign language he’d learned…. milk, help, eat, more, water, and daddy being the most common and helpful.
No one can quite give us a good explanation for the specific whys of his delays; poor motor control and poor body awareness are the two most likely things. With his hyperparathyroidism being undiagnosed for a year, he had trouble with things like muscle control. I think it’s easy to forget that speaking actually uses quite a few muscles (and by quite a few, according to Wikipedia, we mean about 100).
Although the speech therapist has been doing almost exactly what we’ve been doing at home his whole life (interactive play, book reading, animal sounds, etc), he HAS made progress and it’s been wonderful. It’s arduously slow progress… an example: for months he would say “mmm” for moo moo. He has now progressed to “mow” (like mowing the lawn), but doesn’t do moo moo. Mommy is “mi!”… mama is “ma”… daddy is “da.” He now shakes his head no (and says, “No!” the way any strong willed toddler might be expected to ) and just started nodding yes… in a cute, hesitant, cautious way. He only nods it once and it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking.
I will admit to sometimes getting frustrated and discouraged in this area. I want him to be able to easily share everything that he’s got going on in his own head. I want us to have conversations that don’t involve bouts of 20 questions and tears on one end or another by end of them. Still, this is also an exciting time for our boy. One dear friend sent us an amazing song as a gift after I shared some of my concerns ~ the song Shine from the album of that tile. It’s an encouraging reminder of how precious and unique each child is… the Striderling has his own timeline, and that’s okay… nothing can stop him from shining.
After all, this is also the child who didn’t walk until he was seventeen months old and just yesterday he was jumping off of furniture in the living room, sticking the landing about 50% of the time. He’ll get the speech too… in his time.
(I love that photograph of him… he’s adorable, for one, and I love the way you can see the way he’s got some mild hypotonia going on… he rocks that low muscle tone. ).