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Jul '08

Swing Time and Speech Therapy

Last week we had playgroup at the park and I remembered my camera. This is the first time Wes didn’t try to eat the swing, and he was game for letting me push him in it, but he wasn’t especially, shall we say, excited.

In other news, today Wes had his first visit from a speech therapist. Apparently a lot of normal-type baby skills are good indicators of how they’ll do speech-wise. The lady, Donna, evaluated him using a system called PLS-4 (Preschool Learning something something to age 4?). She checked things like how he handles toys, what sounds he makes, interaction level with other people, etc.

She said Wes has great eye contact and is very aware of things around him. She also said his tongue control is pretty good. (It helps a lot that Wes hasn’t been as congested as many DS kids are; when you can’t breathe through your nose you tend to hang your mouth open to breathe.) Apparently the palate is soft and forms around your tongue, so the more the tongue stays in the mouth where it belongs, the better your speech will be later on. Hopefully Wes won’t be too bad off in that area.

I think her primary concern is that he doesn’t make a sufficient variety of noises yet. He rated really low in that area (“expressive”), but better in the “auditory” area. Overall, he scored in the 32nd percentile (9-month equivalent) for “auditory” and 1% (4-month equivalent) for “expressive,” which averaged out (and don’t ask me how the math works here) to the 4th percentile (6-month equivalent).

Which made me want to ask for a re-take.

During her evaluation she asked how many vowel sounds he makes and I said that I wasn’t sure, but the one I hear the most is “Uuungh,” which he makes when he’s mad. So she put him down for one and I guess that weighted his score badly because he should be making multiple vowel sounds by now.

But anyway. Setting aside my parental bitterness, the gist is that he’s doing really well in some areas and needs improvement in others. Some of her suggestions are:

1. Practice turn-taking with Wes. I do something, then let him respond either by mimicking me or reacting (like laughing). Wes isn’t a great mimicker yet (but he’s great at staring), so this will be something to work on. The lady said she can’t stress enough how important learning turn-taking is, so I hope we get good at it.

2. Help Wes become more aware of his mouth region. She said to man-handle him a lot. Touch his mouth, massage his cheeks, anything that will help him become more aware of his mouth area. She suggested patting his mouth when he’s making noise (like an Indian call), get him used to that, and then try patting his mouth when he’s not making noise. Eventually he should learn to make the Indian call spontaneously.

Who knew parenting would involve so many things to learn? Wes is so capable, sometimes I worry I hold him back because I don’t know how to push him well enough, or just don’t push him enough. Thankfully, he manages to progress anyway.


2 Responses to “Swing Time and Speech Therapy”

  1. alicia Says:

    I just had a dr. appt. with Kallie’s pediatrician and he was asking me questions about Kallie and my response was “uh….”. You totally need a retest! How are you supposed to know if your kid does something if you don’t really know that is what you need to be paying attention to? I have no idea what vowel sounds Kallie makes. She makes sounds. I need to work on the mimicking too. As a parent, I don’t realize I “need” to be doing these things until I read about it at the Dr’s office. But you are right, they manage to pick up most of it on their own. :)

  2. Dream Shard Blog » Blog Archive » Speech therapy Says:

    […] just wanted to report that Wes did much better with his speech therapy visit today than last time. I wasn’t sure how Wes would do since he had been yawning and was obviously ready for a nap. […]

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