I’ve been doing therapy with Ava about 5 days a week for two and a half weeks now. She’s made a lot of progress. We’ve also been giving her the fish oil supplement for about that same amount of time. Draw conclusions from that information as you will. We’re not an ideal test of which one is helping because we started both together.
Before we started I could not get Ava to imitate at all. She simply would not respond to a request to “Say _____.” Or at least, she’d only very rarely imitate. Now she’s pretty willing to imitate. Ok. I admit it. I’m bribing her with food. With food she’s willing to try most of the time. Without food, at other times of the day, she’s willing to imitate only about half the time.
Before we started Ava was only using three consonant sounds /d/, /m/, and /h/. Now I’ve been able to get her to produce /s/, /n/, /sh/, /t/, /w/, and /b/. That’s a huge difference. She learned them during our sit down therapy sessions, but she’ll use some of those sounds at other times during the day. She’ll use /n/ in “no” when you remind her. She’ll make /s/ as a snake sound just for fun when she’s in the mood. She’ll use /b/ in “book” (without the final /k/) to ask for a book when she wants one. So there’s been a huge change in her number of consonants. I consider this area to be a big win.
No significant progress in vowels. The ones she already had she will still work with. Some of her consonants she can only produce with certain vowels, not others. The vowels she doesn’t have she won’t even try. That child has a will of steel.
Before we started Ava communicated mostly with gestures, grunts, vowels, and a few Consonant/Vowel (CV) productions like /da/ for “ that”, /mo/ for “more”, and /ya/ for “yeah”. Now she’s using words and sign language when she can. She can imitate CVCVs like “mama” and “dada”. She has so many more words (all without their final consonants though). Off the top of my head, she has “more,” “milk,” “no,” “hat,” “hot,” “meow,” “moo,” “book,” “uh oh,” “ow,” “up,” “yeah,” “down,” “out,” and “help.” These are all words she’ll use spontaneously. I’m not even counting the ones she’ll imitate when I’m working with her but she’s not using at other times. I know there are more, but I can’t think of them right now. It’s pretty amazing to find myself in a position where I can’t even list all of the words she’s saying off the top of my head.