Monday, March 21, 2011

Therapy Progress - Practice and Generalization

It’s been about a month since my last update on Ava’s speech therapy progress. This month her therapy sessions have been rather sporadic. Doctor’s visits, surgery, and a variety of illnesses have interfered with her therapy schedule. She’s seen Ms. J twice, Ms. A three times, and Ms. E four times. I’ve probably only worked with her about three times a week on average. So, there’s been less therapy overall, and the therapy has been a bit inconsistent. This winter has been hard on us.

This month she made the jump from talking with only one word sentences to frequently using two word sentences. She’ll occasionally use three or even four word sentences now too. For example she’ll say, “Ava no pink shoes.” She’ll also string together several two word sentences in a row to get an idea across. For example, she’ll say, “dada shoe,” “mama shoe,” “me no shoe.” The idea she’s trying to get across is, “Hey, why am I the only one here with no shoes on?” but she’s using the tools at her disposal to communicate the idea in a simpler way.

The jump to using more than one word at a time was huge and exciting. It opens up a lot of possibilities where communication is concerned. However, since that jump, progress is slowing down a bit. I’m not seeing huge changes week to week any more. That’s to be expected. She’s made some dramatic changes. She needs some time to just practice her new skills. She’s learning what it’s like to live in a world where she can talk to people and sometimes they can understand. She’s getting to have back and forth conversations with people for the first time.

About two weeks ago, Ava put two words together for the first time. Since then, she’s been practicing that skill. She combines things in new ways and puts new words together. She experiments with putting three words together. Her first two word phrases were adding an owner to an object (Papa house) and an adjective to an object (pink flower). One of her first three word phrases put both an owner and an adjective with an object (Papa pink flower). This week it’s all about negatives. “no, no, no” So she’s experimenting with adding a negative to her sentences. She said, “Ava no purple pockets,” when trying to explain that her purple jacket doesn’t have any pockets.

To summarize, Ava continues to amaze me. She’s made huge progress this month. Last time I wrote an update she was a one word kid. Now she can occasionally string together four. So much going on in that two-year old mind – I am thankful that she can now share some of it with me.

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