A picture’s worth a thousand words

So last week we bought a printer. You may have seen I wrote about how much Oscar was loving the box? We bought it for several reasons, one being to support Oscar’s speech development, which as I’ve explained before is delayed. One of his issues is not only does it take him a long time to ‘get’ words, he seems to use them and then ‘lose’ them again. So in order to provide a visual support to the words he discovers, we decided to print images out and have them accessible to him at all times. Which is how Ben and I found ourselves hard at work with Google images and the laminator last night.

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What do you think? We also have cards for Key, Cheese and Apple.

I decided to use a couple of pictures for each word, choosing a selection of drawings, illustrations and photos. I have no idea if this is the ‘right’ thing to do, but I wanted to see if he could identify each picture as the word, regardless of how they appeared. I’ve also added the actual word, not that he can read yet, but just to get him used to associating the letters with the item as he gets older. Again I have no idea if this is the ‘right’ thing to do, but it felt right to me and as such I went with it!

We put them up all around the lounge and kitchen last night and you should have seen his face this morning. It was like Christmas had come early. He ran from one picture to the next, saying the correct word in front of each. The joy was palpable, his and mine! His favourite seems to be “Fish”. We also made some animal cards, as although he hasn’t got the names down just yet, he is making the correct noises each time for Dog, Cat and Sheep.

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Mmmmmeeeeeehhhhh

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Meeeeeow

We’ll see if this helps the words to hang around any longer and I know there are words I’ve forgotten he can say like flower and elephant, so I’ll be adding to the collection tonight as well as when he gains new words. Putting the ‘Car’ images next to the front door also gave me the idea to have a go at more directive cards, such as bed, bath, garden, food, drink that sort of thing. Not only will it encourage him to link the word with the image, but hopefully we can both use it to indicate what we want to happen (I’ll let you know how that goes!).

For now he’s happy to run up to the Fish and shout something that sounds to me like “It’s a Fish”!

And that makes me happy.

 

 

 

Speak up…..

As you probably know, my boy has just turned 2. He’s strong and active and bright and gorgeous.

And he is yet to speak.

Now before you rush off to tell me that you know someone who didn’t speak til they were three or it’s because he’s a boy or because he’s so active he doesn’t have time to talk, I’ve heard it. Thank you. Really. But I have.

I can break it down into two reasons why this lack of speech is bothering me.

The first, and probably the most difficult, is that his lack of speech is eminently frustrating. For both of us. When he was a baby and couldn’t make himself understood he just cried. That was a bummer, but I could try a number of things and usually got to the solution eventually. Also his needs were much less complex. He wanted ‘food’. He didn’t want pirate biscuits, not breadsticks, in a red bowl not a plate, in the garden not the lounge. He now knows exactly what he wants and he can’t tell me. I can have a guess, based on time of day, where we are, simple hand gestures (he doesn’t really point, more throws his arm in the general direction and opens and closes his little fist) but chances are I’m not going to quite get it. Which can lead to anything from a “Uh” and a pushed away item to a full on screaming tantrum. This sucks for both of us.

The second is much more selfish. He never calls me. About a year ago, he would, if he was very ill, call Maaaamaaaa in a crying whingey tone. That was fine. Now I don’t even get that. For a short spell if I asked him to say Mama (at about 18 months) he would. But he never called me. He calls for me, with various noises none of which are words. But he never calls me Mama. Or Mummy or Mum or even a specific sounds reserved only for me. And he wont repeat the word, or any word, now either. And that sucks for me. It doesn’t bother him. Maybe it’s because I’m usually the one who answers his calls regardless. Maybe he doesn’t feel the need to give me a name cos I’ll come whatever he shouts. But it’s starting to make me just a little bit sad.

So here’s the deal. I know he’s only just two. I know some children speak later than others. I know he’s a boy. I know he’s super active. I know he’ll get there. I know! I know all these things rationally. My rational head is telling me them all the time. But it doesn’t help the emotional side of me. Does it ever? The rational side had him up the doctors last week. I thought it best to rule out any rational reasons early on, you know, like maybe there’s a physical reason he’s behind with his speech? I went to get him checked for the toddler condition Glue Ear, a build up of fluid in the ear which makes everything sound like you’ve got your fingers in your ears. It’s very common and extremely treatable. Well the poor doctor was treated to a view of Oscar’s evil twin when he tried to look in his ears! Yowsa! And despite all that, he said he couldn’t see. We’ve been given olive oil drops to clear any build up of wax and told to come back in a week or so. As you can imagine, that’s proving a riot every evening 😉 and we still don’t have an answer on this front.

The other thing that’s got me in a flap I rationally know I don’t need to be in, is that now he’s two, he’s due his Two Year development check. I stopped going to the health visitor weigh ins when he was 10 months old (apart from one time a few months ago when I went with a friend to give her support. Those poor, glassy eyed new mothers, burnt out from lack of sleep staring in horror at my great big galumphing son! “You poor dears” I felt like saying “yes you too will have a terror like this one day Mwahahahaha!”) and I haven’t really thought about it since. But my friends are starting to have them and they’ve also told me snippets of where the children are expected to be by now. Physically I think we’re pretty much bang on track. 50th centile I’d say. It’s the talking and the gesturing I’ve got myself in a tizzy over. He “should have” 20-50 words or so by now and be making sentences. At a push he can say “car” (I even got it on film the other day in case he wont perform on the day and I have to prove it!) and “bye” or “bah” as he says it. So yeah I’m worried what they’ll say. We’ve got his check booked for next Tuesday, at home, alone. These checks are normally held in groups, but I’ve asked for a home visit as I know I’m going to want to chew this development question over and I’m not comfortable doing this with strangers. Well obviously I am here, just not face to face! So we’ll see how that goes.

And this is where we find ourselves. In a sort of limbo. Trying not to think about it too much, til something is confirmed. Or not. Glad that we’ve got the ball rolling, but with no idea where it’ll roll to. If anywhere.

Ben asked me the other day, what, about this whole thing I was most worried about. What was I actually worried the health professionals would say. I didn’t have to think.

Because deep down I’m most worried that it’s my fault. That it’s something I’ve done. Or not done.

Because I’m his mama – whether he calls me it or not. And that’s what mamas do.

If you call it a car, that's good enough for me baby

If you call it a car baby, that’s good enough for me!