Johnny is so determined to practice speech that he has created his own routine. Every morning after breakfast, after his snack after school, and before or after dinner he needs to practice learning how to say words.
We have this Baby Einstein book called Baby’s First 100 Words which I have used with him to help him learn what things are called and to point to pictures since he was 15 months old. Over a year ago when he first started saying words again he brought this book out and would sit with someone at home and want us to “label” everything and he’d look and listen and then after a few months we would say “point to the bread” and he’d find the bread and try to say the first sound and so on. I think it really help build his receptive language skills quite a lot. In the end he moved on from that and we used other books, flash cards, the iPad and other strategies.
Then 3 weeks ago Johnny brought the book out again. He starts at the same place in the book, “fruits and vegetables”, and points to the picture of the orange and says “orange” and then “juice”. We’ll answer “yes there is juice in oranges” which makes him very happy. He initiates this all on his own but someone has to be sitting at the table across with him interacting with him. He has to do this after breakfast every day before school, after he gets home from school before dinner and then after dinner. He’ll begin with fruits and vegetables, move on to numbers with various groupings of things/animals then on to musical instruments. I’m not sure why but for some reason he is trying very hard to say accordion🙂
What Johnny’s Daddy and I are doing is following his lead but modelling how to say the word better and then adding something to say ie “I had yummy strawberries with my cereal” or “I played the clarinet when I went to school”. He’s pretty systematic about his book and what pages he wants to do at any given time but he is very proud to share that he can say the words better. He is also doing a very good job at gaze shifting and watching my mouth and jaw move when I model the word. His new phrases are “No juice in banana” or “There is juice in apple.”
Here is a list of the words Johnny has decided to work on at least 3 times a day every day. A lot of these words are pretty clear which is surprising me. ie. banana, raspberry, and strawberry a pretty close to being perfect.
I am amazed at his tenacity and overjoyed by the progress he is making. Its funny how one of the traits of Autism that Johnny has is to get focused on a detail or “stuck” on something. This is where Autism is his ally and fuels his determination to learn to speak and to keep up with his own practice routines.