Sometimes I just have to sit back and listen to Monkey chatting away to his toys and marvel at it.
When he had his 2 year check the Health Visitor commented on his lack of speech. I wasn’t really that concerned; as I’ve mentioned in other posts, he has always done things in his own time. But they made a big ‘thing’ about it and asked me to call back 3 months later to discuss how he was getting on. By that time they expected 50 words and a mini sentence of 3 words together.
So I went home with my ‘5 word Monkey’, had a cry, and started to wonder if there really was something wrong. I’ve read to him since day one, pretty much, I talked to him, we went to every kind of baby and toddler glass/group you could possibly imagine so why wasn’t he talking?? What was I doing wrong??? Why wasn’t he ‘normal’? I’m normally quite philosophical about things, but I’d fallen into that ‘must be average’ trap for once.
I have a wonderful NCT friend (well actually, they all are) who works in the NHS, near to a Speech Therapy unit, and she got hold of some notes for me and suggestions to improve Monkey’s speech.
So, anyone who know me knows that I’m rather organised and precise. One of the ideas was to make a list of words in different categories and then tick them off as Monkey could say them. For example – Family: Mummy, Daddy etc, Animals: Dog, Cat etc and so on. We started off with 5 words, so had a mountain to climb in 3 months. But I kept the list close and felt a great sense of achievement every time we could tick a word off, as we got nearer the 3 month period we were also adding our own words to the list.
We also played a describing game – I collected up different objects from around the house and put them in a box. Then Monkey had to pull an object out and we’d describe it – what it was, what colour it was, shape etc. Monkey loved that game.
We’d been recommended a game called Shopping List by Orchard Toys too, as another tool in developing Monkey’s speech.
I noticed that you could buy Booster packs – one being a Fruit & Veg Booster Pack (as that’s Daddy P’s business, that was also a must!) The games arrived and basically you pick a shopping list of items and you have a shopping trolley. There are picture counters to collect, you match the counter to your list and fill your trolley. The game is really aimed at 3+ years so we didn’t play to the rules at that stage. I put all the counters in a bag, Monkey picked a shopping list and we would try to pick out the matching counters – with him trying to say the words as we went. He absolutely loves this game and now he’s 3 years and a bit, we play more to the ‘real’ rules.
Something else that was recommended was giving a running commentary of everything that we were doing throughout the day. To some people this may come naturally and seem obvious. I quickly realised that probably I wasn’t doing enough of this, so tried to make a conscious effort to improve, no matter how silly I looked in the High Street etc.
Anyway, 3 months passed, we’d reached the 50 words goal but not the 3 words together, and I called the Health Visitor. It wasn’t the same person, and this HV just said ‘it sounds ok, I’ll call you in another 3 months to see how he is progressing’. I’m still waiting for that call nearly a year later.
Anyway, by this stage I really wasn’t concerned, Monkey, as always, was just getting there in his own time.
He started pre-school part-time in September 2012 at 2 years, 9 months. It’s a wonderful setting and as soon as I mentioned that his speech was a bit behind what they might expect, they were great. They listened to me and my feel of the situation and have helped to encourage him no end. Funnily enough, one of the first things they said they would use to help his speech was Shopping List by Orchard Toys, so I knew he’d be fine!
He was 3 in December, his speech isn’t at the same level as his friends, but it is sooooo much better than it was, and he is improving all the time. I can remember when he first started making animals noises (months after all his friends) it made me cry. Now he is coming home from pre-school and singing to me. This may seem so normal, but I’ve waited a long time to hear it, and it’s wonderful.
Now he sits and talks to his beloved Teddy and Grandpa Bear and is forever putting our fires all over the living room with his fire engines – simple things, to be cherished.
Most people dread the ‘Why? Mummy’ stage – I can’t wait 🙂