Growing Up

September 17th, 2011

These photos are a little old, but I haven’t taken the time to do much blogging lately, so it shouldn’t matter, right?

As Ami is about to grow out of the Early Intervention (0-3 yr.) program, she had a speech evaluation this week to determine if she would qualify for services through the school system.  Let me just tell you, that she is a talker!  She has amazed us with her progress in speech over the past 6 months.

We also give credit to her wonderful SLP (Speech Therapist) who works with her each week, and gives us specific areas to work with her on, as well.  After her palate repair, we started with blowing bubbles, blowing through a straw, sucking through a straw, blowing a whistle.  Things we take for granted, that Ami was unable to do without closure between her oral and nasal cavities.

The first sounds we worked on were “B” and “P”, the voiced and unvoiced “plosives”, which require air to come out of the mouth without escaping through the nose.  (Once her palate was repaired and healed, Ami has had to learn to use new muscles to close off her throat when speaking.  Thankfully she didn’t develop any fistulas, and thankfully her soft palate is long enough [reaches far enough back in her throat], that she can make that closure.  Otherwise, air would escape [and sometimes still does] out the nose when speaking, making it difficult to form many sounds.)

As she practiced and mastered those sounds, we worked on the “D” and “T”, also voiced and unvoiced, just requiring a different mouth formation.  Ami is such a little mimic, she would be learning the new sounds consistently within one or two weeks.

Our next sounds were the “G” and “K”.  These were a little trickier, but it was gratifying to hear the progress from sometimes, to often, to always.  As a teacher, (and someone who enjoyed taking linguistics classes), I find it fascinating to work with Ami’s SLP and learn some of her “tricks-of-the-trade”.

Other sounds we have worked on are “F” and “S”.  We are just now working on the voiced equivalents, “V” and “Z”, as well as the the many “S” blends.

Ami’s pronunciation and vocabulary are pretty good for an almost three-year-old, especially one who has a CL/CP diagnosis.  (And especially considering that she has only been hearing English spoken for one year).  We were all curious.  Would she even qualify for speech services?  When giving one-word responses to the SLP evaluating her?  No.  When being observed in play and hearing spontaneous speech, coupled with her CL/CP diagnosis?  Yes.  We are happy.  Ami will continue receiving speech services, and while she is still young be given every opportunity to speak well.  She still has areas to improve, and I know that it will be easier to work on those areas now rather than later.  We are just so proud of her persistence and how far she has come.

Posted in Ami, Cleft surgery

Leave a Reply