I need to clarify a few more things about my post on Bella being recommended for speech therapy yesterday, because I don’t want to freak anyone out by not providing all the information on our story. I also want to update you on what I’ve decided for now (Sam has been out of touch for a week with training and will be back tonight so we can talk about it together).
And of course, to thank all of you for the sweet comments, emails, tweets and FB messages with suggestions and just plain love. You guys rock.
So here’s the deal. Sometimes I forget that you all don’t live with me. I mean, I know it (wouldn’t that be horrible in my 2 bed apartment?) but I tend to write as if everyone reading knows *exactly* what I know. And of course you only know parts. Because if I told you everything, the blog posts would be 10-20 pages long.
So as a back-story: It’s not that Bella can’t or never has spoken. She started speaking around 12 months. At the time she could say, “Da, Gida (kitty), Mumum (Mama) and Wasa (what’s that?).” And it was adorable. I think I started to notice around 15/16 months that her vocabulary never really went anywhere past that. When I started hearing about kids around her age asking for things, “Baba, doggie, etc” she never did that. Except for Daddy. She does ask for him.
She can follow almost any direction I give her. Even two step ones. So her hearing is great. She recognizes almost everything. She can point to what she wants. Her small and large motor skills are way beyond her age group, and her Gymboree teacher assured me of that last night.
But I worry because she is frustrated not being able to speak. I see her struggle to make certain sounds. She has never made a hard sound like “c, t” or a more pronounced sound like “l” or “p”. She can do “b, g, d, i (like in kitty), oo, and o.”
Yesterday I started really listening to her and realizing that in 7 months of hearing me say, “Kitty” and her trying to repeat it multiple times a day, she still says, “Gida” and points at them. And no matter how much I’ve emphasized the different sounds, she simply can’t form her mouth to imitate it back to me.
I will take her to see a speech therapist once we get to El Paso. Because like my awesome BlogHer roomie Alena, who also has her daughter in speech therapy, said, “It can’t HURT.” And she’s right – I either will be told she’s fine or that they see a problem and need to work with her. No harm done.
Kim from Baby Feet encouraged me (along with several of you on here) to start sign language with her. I had thought of this several months ago but read that it could actually deter speech. But at Bella’s age, all it will do is reinforce what something is and allow her to tell me what she wants without getting so frustrated all the time.
I started “More” with her because that’s something I say all the time. And used the little yogurt drops to reinforce her using the sign. I did it over and over and over and over – and then showed her how every so often. We did “more” at Gymboree for bouncing, “more” for everything I could think of.
And by jove, if she wasn’t signing “more” by the end of the day – AND SAYING IT.
It’s still a big struggle for her to say it though. It comes out, “Moe” stretched out as her mouth tries to include the “R” sound.
But it’s a great first step in use being able to communicate in some form with each other.
Now tonight I have to tell Daddy, who I know is going to be sad for her but totally supportive. And today we’re working on more of, well, “more” and starting “eat” while I sign everything in between but don’t have her try to repeat it. Just so I can get used to it.
And for those of you permanently plugged in, yes indeed, there is an app for that. I use Baby Sign Language Basics by Monta Z. Briant – not sure if there is also an Android app but worth a look!
Hope that helps clear some things up, and for those of you in the same boat maybe this gives you some relief and ideas. I’ll be writing on the process as we go along, especially once we get to El Paso. If you want to keep up, I tend to post the short updates on my FB page. Feel free to ask anything you want here/Twitter/FB/email.