Speech Delays

Before you marry someone, you should take a health history. Any mental illness in you family? Any diabetes? Any speech delays? Any drug addictions? And the list can go on and on.

If we did this checklist, we would have found out that there are speech concerns on both sides of our families and may have chosen not to get married (if that was the only criteria we were looking at).

Man, Dave never would have chosen me. Can you imagine if we had criteria that restricted? People would never get married. It's hard enough to find someone that you are compatible with let alone having all the health issues in check! I guess you have to look at everything.

Anyways, about those speech delays.... I was so thrilled when Zach said 'mama'. Initially I thought it was strange. I thought that children should say 'dada' first but I was not going to complain with Zach saying any word and especially the word 'mama'. But then he didn't say anything else for a very long time.

We had a friend that was so determined to have Zach say his name (Ming). He would say 'Ming' repeatedly to Zach but Zach didn't say anything. Seems kind of funny now that I know how delayed Zach's speech was.

We should be given a degree for the learning required to deal with the speech delays. It's one thing when a child has difficulty talking but when they have limited understanding too...the frustration and behaviour can multiply. Whew! How do you get through to a child that has trouble understanding?

Just imagine yourself going to another country where they speak another language and you had no understanding and no way to request what you want. Plus you are only two years old and you don't have the thought process to problem solve.

I applaud speech pathologists. We have a great deal to be thankful for. Zach's vocabulary was very limited until he was two and a half years old. The speech pathologist and Zach's workers taught him how to speak and communicate.

Zach's therapy started when he was 2 1/2 years old. One technique they use with children with autism to communicate is a PECS system. PECS is a picture exchange communication system. We had a board with different pictures on it that Zach would frequently request ie. Food. In therapy, they just had to teach Zach how the communication with the little pictures worked. This technique allows the child have another means to request something when they don't have the words to ask for something. It gives them a sense of control.

We didn't use the picture system for very long because we needed to encourage him to use words over the pictures. The actions certainly came first before the words but they did come.

Now we need to ask Zach to stop talking to go brush his teeth or go put his pjs on! Amazing!