Geo just turned four-year-old about a month ago. Since last summer, he has started seeing a new speech therapist. She also uses touch cues to help Geo speak. See my blog post and video where I use touch cues with Geo here. We continue to use the touch cues to guide him, but we have started to take away the support of saying the word for him. So if he is trying to say “sister,” which is tough because of the double consonant sound “st,” I will just gesture the touch cue without saying the word “sister.” It is amazing how this helps him remember how to put his sounds together. I cannot help but compare the wonders of using these touch cues to the wonders of using gestures with the Accelerative Integrative Method (AIM) of language learning created by Wendy Maxwell. I am using these touch cues with Geo just like AIM uses a technique called “gestural mirroring.” It is simply magical to see how both my son and my students react positively to the support of these different gestural cues to guide their language production!
Luckily, Geo’s speech therapist does not believe he has verbal apraxia. There was a time where we thought he was apraxic, but now it seems that was an error. He has made slow but steady progress in his speech and we are amazed by his ability to say words that he couldn’t say just a few months ago. He can now say his “s” sound and his hard “c” sound. So favorite words like “dinosaur” and “cat” are finally being properly articulated! Woohoo!!!!
As I have already mentioned in this blog, I have not stopped speaking French to Geo due to his delay. All the experts on Geo’s team have agreed that language input in French will not hurt him. His ear doctor stated: “His brain can handle it.” This has pretty much been the thought process of all his physicians. We are not making him work on pronouncing French, yet, though, knowing that next fall we want him to be understood by his peers in Kindergarten, who are mainly monolingual English speakers. Geo does, however, produce some speech in French. Here he is just saying “Bonjour” and being his bouncy, cheerful self:
Geo will be undergoing his second (and hopefully final) ear surgery in May. Last fall we found out that he had a cholesteatoma which is a growth in his middle ear. This congenital growth has been with him since the womb and has grown over the years. Luckily we found it! Without treatment it could have caused permanent nerve damage as it just grows and grows. He had his first surgery in December 2012 to remove the majority of the growth. Unfortunately, his little middle ear bones have paid the price of the growth’s mass and are deteriorated due to the intrusion. His second surgery in May will take off any additional growth that may be left and to attempt to reconnect his middle ear. This will be a delicate task due to the deterioration of those tiny bones. We are asking for all positive energy and prayers for a successful surgery. THANK YOU!!! He is scheduled for surgery on May 15th. When successful, Geo will have almost immediate restoration of hearing in his ear! He has been living with about 50% hearing loss on his left side…we believe this is most likely the cause for his speech delay.
His speech therapist has assessed Geo’s language skills. We are very pleased to learn that his receptive language skills are above average. He is able to understand more language than an average kid his age. We cannot hep but wonder if our bilingual efforts with him are already paying off at his early age! His cognitive skills are on par for a successful academic career…but I worry about how “all-over-the-place” busy he is. He will need active learning…and on that note, I cannot wait to start using AIM with him and his sister! As soon as we can get La Poule Maboule kit, we’ll be on our way!
I just found this video from a couple months ago. He says “ça fait mal” (it hurts) after kneeling on a toy but doesn’t pronounce the soft “ç” sound properly. I do not correct his French pronunciation…thinking of that affective filter. Just two months ago, he wasn’t able to say his initial “s”/”ç” sound. He can now!!!!!!!!! Go, Geo, GO!!! 🙂