Monday, November 7, 2011

I have NO IDEA!

The worry is so acute when they have no words and all the other children seem to be talking. Then, if you're lucky, you see progress when therapy begins and the feeling of relief is so profound. Sounds are better than silence. Single syllable words are even better than sounds. Two-syllable words or two-word utterances are even better than that. And then you get sentences, and lots of new words and you start to think it will all be okay.

Then there's a long plateau. Her immediate family understands her most of the time. I get a lot of practice, and at her age (2 1/2) she's almost always talking about something where I get some context clues. Being able to understand her most of the time gives me a false sense of security as well.

Lately, Ava is singing. It's adorable and a sign of great language development. Now, when I say singing, I don't mean the ABC song or Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. I mean just making up songs out of the blue.

She learned it from me. I make up songs about what we're doing all the time. If we're getting dressed I'll make up a silly song about putting on shirts and socks. If we're eating breakfast I'll make up a song about how our food tastes good to our mouth and then travels to our tummy to give us energy for the day. If the kids are running circles in the house I'll make up a song about how many laps they've managed to do. (I know, I'm a dork.)

A few days ago I noticed Ava starting to do the same thing. She made up a song about her baby and feeding her. Then she made up a song about going to the grocery store. I caught about one word in ten of those songs and only because I had some context to help with the guessing.

She's also making up songs about random thoughts in her mind. I can tell she's singing "words" and is super excited about whatever story she's telling. I can tell she wants an audience and wants to talk to me about her song. She's just bursting with pride at making up her own songs. I can see all of that clear as day.

And I have NO IDEA what the songs are about. None. It's killing me. It also makes me realize how unintelligible she is out of context and how very unintelligible she probably is to strangers. So sad. I must find more time for therapy.

Speaking of therapy, my new froot loop therapy reinforcer is working beautifully. She's bringing it over and asking to do speech just so she can have a froot loop snack. Whatever works! Being able to sit down with her regularly and get in sessions of a decent length is letting me get a better feel for her current skills and needs in terms of motor processing. Once I get things better sorted out I'll do a post on the topic.


  1. Yup, we're reaching that point too - as the vocabulary is increasing, the intelligibility is decreasing...very frustrating!

  2. Keep on singing. There is nothing better for sound sequencing, sound blending than music. And the fact that you and your child are making them up is just splendid. That is how I got started with my song writing - creating spontaneous songs with my students as we were playing.

    Rachel Arntson
    Kids' Express Train
    creator of songs for enhancing speech and language skills

  3. Gentle Blue - Good to hear from you! Hope you are doing well. It seems so inappropriate to be ungrateful for vocabulary growth and I certainly don't mean it that way. However, it is frustrating to see intelligibility go down.

    Rachel - I love singing and I love hearing her sing. On one hand, I think the sound sequencing practice is nothing but good. I wonder a little though, if having her practice errors over and over is helpful... I remind myself that in a way, this is her version of the babbling most babies do in infancy. She can't learn at all without doing, right?


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