Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Gap Between Sounds and Words
Before I had my son with DS, I never thought much about speech. My kids started talking and that was it. They didn't struggle with speech at all. I never realized all the steps that have to fall into place for a child to speak--steps that just came naturally with my other nine kids. My son knows the names of the alphabet. He will see a word and spontaneously start saying the names of the letters that spell it. We've been trying to make the shift from naming the letters to saying their sounds. He can say the sounds for 70% of the letters. "K" and "F" sounds are hard for him. His therpist has found a program (Kaufman) that helps kids bridge the gap between saying the sounds and combining them into words. Our goal is to teach my son how to take the sounds and make them into words. He's starting to do that with "moo" and a few other words. What's interesting is that he says some words naturally that he learned on his own. I'm not sure why he's learned some words like, "mom," without any intervention but needs help with other words. His therpist thinks he has apraxia, which means his brain sends the word to his mouth, but his lips and muscles don't move correctly to form the word and it comes out garbled. Fortunately, therapy helps kids overcome apraxia. We practice saying the same sound combinations over and over again to train his mouth muscles. If I'd known I'd have a son that needed speech therapy, I would've studied it in college so I could be more helpful to him. At times, I feel like a failure because I'm his mom and I should know how to teach him to speak. Thankfully, we've found this amazing therapist (who in yesterday's session demonstrated she has the patience of Job) that can help us.