If I were Catholic, I would be filling out the application for sainthood for our new therapist, Lisa. Our second week of therapy was just as good, if not better, than the first week. I discovered that Lisa works at the same place our beloved Becky works, knows her well, and was trained in, and believes in, the same methods that have worked so well for Jake. She also has a child who has a sensory disorder and understands intimately the things I deal with every day. (I’m fascinated with how many women in the field of pediatric therapy have children with special needs and I’m wondering if I can already see my future career mapped out for me!) To be honest, I was very nervous about the program Jake is currently in since my first interactions with the staff were less than ideal. I really couldn’t have asked for a better therapist!
I have been getting weary of the amount of time Jake spends whining every day. Lisa saw Jake whining, collapsing on the floor, and he even threw a toy once before he burst into tears. She watched as I talked with him, told him that he couldn’t throw things, give him a hug and put him back on his feet, ready to play again. She saw that the beginning of his little meltdown, which I hadn’t been able to sort out, was when he was talking and couldn’t get his point across. She was encouraging that I have been handling his behavior the right way and that as soon as Jake is better able to communicate, the whining will go away. Which made me breathe a sigh of relief since I was about to go buy some earplugs.
Another thing that Lisa saw is that Jake’s sign language is starting to fade. He only signs about 25 percent of the time now, using his speech more and more to try to communicate. I knew that he wasn’t signing as much, but didn’t realize quite how significant a signpost that is, since he’s now able to communicate a little more clearly.
Jake’s speech is still pretty hit and miss, though, and I’ve been tempted to compile and Jake-English Translation Guide. Here are a few examples of possible entries.
Yes, please: Speeee
All done: Allner
I love you: Ahloo
Since most of his two-syllable or two-word phrases come out as one word, we are going to be working to separate out his speech. Lisa helped me with a few ways to do that. One way is to speak very slowly, clearly stopping after each word or syllable. Another way is to clap my hands for every word or syllable. We’ve been working on that a lot and Jake is already starting to clap while he talks. Whenever I see it, it’s always a “You are so cute!” moment.
We are also going to do concentrated work on his alphabet, which Jake thinks is really fun. Whenever we’re driving or doing yardwork together, you can hear us working our way through our A, B, C’s. He does really well and can even get some of the sounds that aren’t typical for his age.
Lisa taught me a few games to play with Jake and was encouraging that Jake should progress quickly. She is going to do both speech and feeding therapy, since she is trained in both and, unlike the school district, does see a need for both types of therapy. I am happy that she can help me with all of Jake’s issues, not just the speech.
Lisa is one of those people who is going to be a constant source of encouragement, kindness, laughter (she’s got a fantastic sense of humor), and a wealth of knowledge. Most importantly, she is giving me the tools I need to help Jake, and when the day is done, I’ll be able to sleep better, knowing that I’ve done everything I can to help my little boy on his way.