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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Speech, Language, & Communication

First of all let me say this isn't a woe-is-me, pity-party post. I don't want anyone to get the idea that they should be feeling "sorry" for me because I have a daughter with an extra chromosome. Don't read into this that it's a burden raising her, or that she's "suffering" or that it's a challenge.

Well ok, at times it is a challenge; but raising any child is a challenge!

Ok now that I got that out of the way...

For the most part Kayla does keep up with her peers and you would have to look closely to see the delays (I realize that this might change as she grows older). For instance with gross motor skills she's not jumping with both feet leaving the ground (she has all the motions though and knows what to do, just can't get air under the feet). She can't walk on a straight line toe to heel (as walking a balance beam) her coordination just isn't there yet. So yes there are some delays.

Speech has been the hardest one (well for me anyway!) I can't wait for the day to carry on conversations with her, I can't wait for her to tell me what she did during school, I can't wait for her to express her needs, wants, desires...whether it be "I want milk" or "I want water." Oh she'll get there when she's ready, I know she will...but sometimes the waiting is hard.

So to bridge this gap until speech comes along we've all been learning American Sign Language (ASL) ... thanks to Signing Time DVDs we've all learned a lot! Kayla can sign over 100 words. She is pretty close to saying 100 words now too, they may not all be clear, and some sound the same, but if you know the context she's using it in you can pretty much figure out what she's saying.

So even though she can sign and say that many words she's not really putting them together. It seems like all she has to say is one word and that gets the point across. "Outside", "walk" "cookie" "cracker" etc. We had been trying and trying to get her to string two words together such as "Hi mommy" or "bye daddy." I thought if she knows how to say both of those words how come she can't put them together? She knows how to sign/say "want" and "cracker" but she would stand at the pantry and sign/say "want." We would ask, "want what?" and she would say, "what." If she signed "cracker" we would ask, "what do you say?" and she would sign "please." But rarely would she put them together on her own.

It's gradually happened and now on a daily basis she'll say "hi mommy/daddy/cow/baby/duck/car" etc.

So I started thinking about other phrases and realized she was saying "I see you" "I love (yuv) you". She's putting "a" in front of objects so she says "ah book." She started saying "I read", "I sit." Although I think she was really starting out saying "ah read" as if "ah" goes in front of everything, but we would say yes "I read" and now it sounds more like "I" then "ah."

When we got back from vacation a few weeks ago I needed to go out somewhere. I went to get my shoes, and let me tell you - Kayla can hear that hall closet door opening a mile away! She always comes running saying "shoes". I was putting mine on when she rounded the corner and she said "mommy shoes." Let me tell you this was HUGE! My eyes bulged out, my chin probably hit the floor - you would have thought my child just recited the Constitution or something! But it was big because as I said she hadn't been putting two words together that often and to do it in that context...I was just beaming.

I try so hard not to get in the "comparison" game about what so-and-so's child is doing. I know each child develops differently and at their own pace. I know it does no good to worry about what some other child is saying and doing. I know all that, yet sometimes it's hard NOT to do that and notice. Especially when all your friends around you have kids pretty much the same age - within months of each other - and you listen to them speaking in these complete sentences. They can tell you exactly what theme they want for their birthday party whether it be fairy princesses, or Finding Nemo, or Dora, or whatever the fad of the moment is.

So now for the good part - if you've made it this far!

This past Friday I was out for my monthly Bunco night which means Kayla was home with daddy. He got to hear a major milestone! Of course I was a little jealous that I didn't get to hear it when it first happened, but hey, I can't be the first to witness all her milestones! I get to see most of them since I'm home with her all day so it's only fair Joe has a turn.

So he was getting ready to put her to bed and our routine is to read a story. He says "Kayla lets go read." She responds, "I read."

Joe, "Yes we're going to read a book." Kayla, "ah book."

Then going down the hallway he heard her say, "I read a book." (Oh my gosh I missed her first FOUR-WORD sentence!!) He was shocked to say the least and asked her to say it again (she wouldn't), he tried to get her to repeat it word after word, she wouldn't. So she gets into bed and he starts reading and he said clear as day, pausing between each word she said, "I read a book."

And we got her to say it over the weekend, and yesterday and today. Each time she says it we say "YAY!!" and get so excited and clap and she does too.

So yes my daughter will be 3 years old next month and I'm celebrating her first 4-word sentence and I couldn't be more proud of her. I have tears in my eyes knowing how sweet it sounds to hear her say this.

We will have conversations, she will tell me about her days, it will happen. I just need to be more patient.

21 comments:

Tara Marie said...

Those converstations will come...and let me tell you, they will melt your heart!

Way-to-go Miss Kayla!!! and you said my four most favorite words.....I read a book....because reading is a treasure!

Anonymous said...

Oh Michelle, you had me in tears!! Being a parent,especially a Mommy, (Mommy's seem to always stess and worry and etc. more) we want so much more for out children...Michelle, I rejoice with you, Joe and Kayla!!!!!!!! A four word sentence!!! WOW!! Beautiful!!!! Love Mom

Tracey said...

That's awesome Michelle! Way to go Kayla!

FYI, I know several children without the extra chromosone who don't speak in full sentences (or do, but not clearly) by age 3. She sounds like she's on a good track with her signs (wow!) and her comprehension (which sounds incredible!).
~smiling over here for you~

RNP said...

Hooray Kayla....what a wonderful first sentence you created! I am quite impressed with all the language you do know already and cannot wait to hear the next milestone.

What a wonderful girl you are!!!

chelle said...

Congrats Kayla!! You are right every kid develops differently. It is hard not to compare. I try and try to only celebrate my daughter's success and not focus on anyone else.

It totally rocks that her first sentence was "I read a book"!!!

Ellie said...

I've been reading your blog for awhile, but have never commented. How awesome that Kayla spoke her first 4-word sentence, and what a cool sentence for it to be! I work with autistic children, and some of them never learn to talk at all...so it is great that Kayla is doing so well and learning at her own pace. I'm sure the sentences and conversations will come when she is ready. I have really enjoyed reading your blog, and Kayla is absolutely adorable! Blessings!

Ellie said...
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Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Way to go Kayla!! You keep marching to your own drummer! Society loves to put everyone in the same box. Wouldn't it be convenient (and boring) if we were all the same...but we're not! Yes, you have an extra chromosome. But, since when was having anything extra a negative thing? I believe it is something EXTRA special!! and hey, my Mommy told me her big brother didn't speak a word until he was almost 4!!! People did not think he could speak. Then, it all just came pouring out...and it hasn't stopped. hee hee (and he does not have the extra gift). So, you just keep doing things in your own good time. You go girl!! Your friend, Princess Morgan

Michelle said...

Thanks everyone for celebrating with me on this big milestone!

Ellie - welcome and thanks for stopping by my site :)

trisomymommy said...

Way to go, Kayla! That's just so fabulous. Can't wait to hear what the next four word sentence is!

Christina said...

Congratulations!
I have been reading your blog for a while, found the link on Rebecca's page. I love the story snd how you write. I just had my first child on May 12th and he has T21/DS. At first it was a big chock, but now I am getting used to it and trying to learn as much as possible about it. Signing seems to be the way to go, and we will try that for sure when our boy gets a little older. We are a trilangual family (I am Swedish, my husband Austrian - i,e German speaking and we always communicate in English), so we will have to figure out a way to do it. We might drop Eng, and try the 2 others. Anyways, I love your blog and big congrats to Kayla!!!

Christina

Christi said...

Yeah!!!! That is fantastic. Kayla is doing awesome.

Kari said...

That is so awsome Michelle! *sniffle sniffle. What an great choice of a firt 4 word setence too! :)

mum2brady said...

Whooo hoooo - you go Miss Kayla!!!!! What a wonderful milestone Michelle - we are celebrating with you and your cute girl!!!!

Overwhelmed! said...

Oh, that's fantastic!! I'm so excited for Kayla and for your family! And what a perfect 4 word sentence, "I read a book."

Thanks for sharing.

amy flege said...

kayla has been a personal little inspiration to me! I just hope Mayson will be doing all the things kayla does at the age of 3~ keep up all your hard work michelle. you are such a good mommy~!

Anonymous said...

Yea! for precious, beautiful Kayla! Love, G-Aunt Debbie

Grandma said...

I haven't "visted" in a few days so what a wonderful story to be able to read on this visit. Words alone can't express how excited and happy I am over Kayla's latest accomplishment. I had to wipe away a few tears to be able to finish reading but oh how worth it those tears are!!

Debra said...

That is so great. Yippee for Kayla.

Hugs from Debra and Hope

Jess said...

ROCK ON!!! I have tears in my eyes, for you! That is so huge!!! My excitement was that great huge chest-swelling feeling when Sophia started doing stringing words together. But now... um... can someone make her stop?? kidding! Seriously, major congrats & WAHHHOOOOS!!!!