So since Katy asked, and since Clayton is always wanting me to "tell so-and-so that," I thought I'd take a walk down memory lane and talk more about Clayton's talking. His receptive language has always been leagues ahead of his expressive language. And I really feel like (as do the therapists) the onset of spoken word for him was mainly delayed by his lung disease, since breath support is such an important factor in speaking. His mouth motor skills did and still do lack, but as his lungs have healed, his speaking has become better and better. He started speech therapy in the NICU, but it definitely was more aggressive once he was here at home. And since he was still very sick most of his first year and a half, we didn't see many gains in his speech at first. He has pretty much always shown signs of knowing what is going on around him, but wasn't able to really begin telling us until he was around two years of age. And even then, we were usually the only ones who understood him on a regular basis. These were his words in December 2005 (28 months):He spent 2006 getting better lung-wise, but that was the year his seizures began, and with those and a couple of other issues, he had a few hospital stays. But by 2007, he was on a roll again, and he had become quite the talker: You have spent the first half of 2007 talking non-stop! In these last few months, you have literally had an explosion of words, the count quickly grew--100, 200, and now too many to count! You have so many words we can't keep up! I'm so proud that you are able to tell the world what you are thinking!
And of course, he had his own version of several words. If he did get up the nerve to speak to strangers, we spent a lot of time translating for him:
And we can't forget the music! He has learned so much just by learning song after song after song after song . . .With any lull in conversation or quiet time, this is what we hear from you. While stacking your fist, we hear you ask for "Wi-Built." This is your way of telling us to sing your favorite song, "The Wise Man Built His House Upon a Rock." And with such a cute way of asking, how can anyone resist singing it for and with you? June 2007
The sentences came in 2008, with most of them being commands. He learned quickly how to boss, boss, boss! I recorded his most used sentences in March 2008: Oh, big deal! Ready to go! Mama, get my vacuum. Guitar, daddy! Get my music. Go outside. Daddy's truck. Go kitchen. Get my green! It's too much! Get my dishwasher. Go in there, Mamma! Get my wheelchair. Ready go play! Katie's bed. Bye-bye house. Couch! Pop cook. Drama! Get my floor! Get my kick, Mamma! Daddy's grill. Did you poot? I can't take it! Kiss it. Good grief! Pop, get my baby. Bye-bye truck. Ready go bed. Get my book! Pop cry. Granny's house. Mamma, get my blanket. Help me! Hold you. Get my blue chair. Baby, belt. Hush, Chase! Oh my goodness! Go take shower. Get my piano. Samson, hush! I caught ya! Don't worry, be happy! Sing, Mamma! Diaper change. Sit in my chair. Go take bath. Oh my word!
And nowadays, if he's in a familiar environment, he talks non-stop--still spending most of his time giving commands to most everyone in the room. Tells everyone where they should be sitting, what we should be watching on TV (Food Network), what room he wants to go to next, what activity we should do next, etc. When he is speaking clearly, he is understandable (at least I think so but I listen to him all them time), but he still cannot say the "l" sound or the "x" sound. We do end up translating a lot when we around people who don't listen to him a lot. His big gain in 2009 has been mastery of pronouns. Every once in a while he still speaks of himself in third person, but he has really figured out the Is, mes, yous, us, we, etc. There are other issues (lack of volume, repeating not-so-nice words/phrases!); but for the most part, speech has definitely been the area of therapy he has excelled in!