Yeah, you read that title correctly. Ryan. will. not. shut. up.
This post is a long time coming and I’m as surprised as you are that I’m writing it.
Upon receiving her diagnosis, we were never given a guarantee that Ryan would talk. In fact, in our dream list of 4 things that Ryan would do in her life (which we came up with when she was teeny tiny), talking wasn’t one of them. Our dream was that she would be able to see, to walk, to feed herself , and to use the potty. Talking wasn’t even on the list because we knew that with the technology available today she’d be able to communicate in some way. Our list has since morphed as she showed us it was possible that she could, and would, talk!
It all started with mama. The first and only word for a long, long time was mama. I’d like to think it was all about me but she said mama for everything. She could only get the M sound out for a long time. H and P eventually followed and we heard words like home, happy, and hippo. But the progress with her speech was very slow and as her vowel sounds became more clear (she was able to differentiate between mama – for Liz – and mommy – for Katie) more consonants wouldn’t come.
So we got her a speech device. We used it as much as we could to practice words and sounds but it wasn’t something that was easy for us to use in our daily lives… we kind of sucked at it. We practiced with it at speech therapy but at home… not so much.
Then she had her neck surgery. https://ryangrace11q.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/ryans-surgery/ After that, she moved into a more inclusive classroom with typical peers, and her speech improved. We were told that speech usually follows walking in terms of milestones and we definitely saw an improvement. She used more words… but all with the M, H and P sounds. At that point we realized that the speech device wasn’t a priority. Ryan was able to express her needs enough that we (and she) preferred verbal communication over technological. Yet the consonants just wouldn’t come.
In January we decided to try a new form of therapy – PROMPT. https://ryangrace11q.wordpress.com/2016/01/ We had high hopes but after three sessions we decided to go back to traditional therapy for numerous reasons. One of those reasons was that Ryan just absolutely loves her speech therapist! This is one of my favorite videos of Ryan having a blast at therapy.
I’m not sure what the actual turning point was for Ryan: her surgery, being around verbal peers at school, or her love of her speech therapist, but before we could blink an eye she had an absolute explosion of speech. Her use of consonants, although still a struggle, are improving. And her vocabulary is now off the charts! She not only mimics everything but she will sing along to songs in the car that we didn’t even realize she knew and she is using 3 to 4 word phrases all the time! Just this week she asked for peanuts by saying “I peanuts please” and when she got into the tub said “Come on soap, let’s bubble”! I could list all the words and phrases she can say, but instead, I’ll just you leave you with some cute videos…