I find myself trying to squeeze in a little speech “therapy” with Henry whenever I can. And in the last six months or so the car has been a favorite place for this because, let’s face it, he’s kind of a captive audience. He’s all strapped in!
Henry has a love of stop signs and traffic lights, so that was an obvious place to start. So many possibilities for prompting speech while on the go.. stop, go, car, truck, tree, school…whatever. It’s endless right? (btw, I always wonder what people in other cars think when they see me at stop lights and such. I’m always talking and gesturing to him, pointing out objects or people. He’s hard to see, so I must look like I’m talking to myself!)
Anyhow, the funny thing that got him going was “house”. It started as a game, and I use the word game loosely because it was a lame attempt to distract him and get him to stop crying one day. I pointed out the window to a house and said, look, “house!” in a very excited voice. Then I pointed every time I saw one and did it in funny voices, or in a sing song voice. He found it very entertaining. We did this on one particular long and winding country road that was on our way home from therapy and other errands, and I did it every single time we took that road. He began to anticipate the “game” each time we drove down this road. After a few weeks, I pointed and waited instead of shouting out the answer…he said “ha!”. A couple of weeks later it became “how”. Lately he’s advanced to “housh”. And this is now without a verbal prompt! As he mastered house, I now add a descriptive and make a two word phrase. “Yellow house”, or “small house”.
I was surprised today when we were taking a walk in the neighborhood and he pointed to a house and yelled ‘gee housh!!” (green house). Now, the house was indeed blue, but that’s neither here nor there. The exciting part was he made a two word phrase approximation, spontaneously! I was beyond excited. It took over six months, but we got there! “House” I think has become a permanent word approximation for him and I don’t see it going away anytime soon. It just made me realize our kiddos are really paying attention all the time, taking it all in. All of this apparent talking to myself is not a waste of time or energy after all. Sometimes words come to them in the most unexpected ways…way to go Henry!