I used to be a teacher in the public schools. After successfully completing 7 years, I knew it was not the profession for me, much to the chagrin of mine and Steve's parents. But luckily, having two little boys gives me a chance to keep the teaching skills I have developed working. This week showed an example with each of my children. I will share Aaron's today, and Noah's next week when I have examples to back it up.
Anyone who has read my blog for a longer period of time knows some of the "Aaron Story" as it relates to speech. He was delayed for a long time, and continually failed hearing tests throughout his young life. I started giving him daily Claritin when I gave it to his brother and he finally passed a test. But his speech was still dragging. My parents always say that Aaron talks like he's from the Bronx. He just has those kind of inflections.
After several consults with the pediatrician and a speech pathologist, it was suggested that he could get speech therapy when he went to school. So I sent him to our local public school for preschool, as much as I wasn't comfortable with the school district, teacher, or anything associated with it.
He is big for his four year old age, but was constantly being called "baby", I think because of his speech. Yet, the speech therapist at the school wouldn't qualify him for speech therapy, much to the shock of our pediatrician.
So that, along with several other reasons, led me to make the decision to pull him from preschool. If they aren't willing to help him catch up so he could succeed later, then it fell to me to do it.
If you ever read In The Life Of A Child, Michelle does a delightful job of telling stories through the speak of her daughter, Jacqui. I love her Jacqui posts because I can just hear her speaking, very similar to Aaron-speak. There are quite a few sounds we need to work on to get Aaron up to par. It is one of the reasons that although he is technically old enough to start kindergarten next year, it will probably be better to wait a year before he starts school.
Our biggest issues are "th" "r" "l blends", among others. And there are certain words that are in his constant vocabulary that he was saying wrong all the time.
So for some reason, this week I decided it was time to start tackling these sounds. I didn't think I should try to correct them all at once. That seems a little too aggressive. So I decided to tackle the ones that were driving me the craziest. The "L" blends.
I am going to "sweep" in my bed
I "wike" to go to the pahk"
I "wuv" you mommy"
And so on. What it took was realizing that he wasn't using his teeth to form any of his sounds. We had to work on getting him to stick his tongue out of his mouth a little. Once he could feel the difference, we started working on words.
So each time we were in the car this week (it seems less stressful than sitting down and directly working on it), I would stop him if one of his "l's" wasn't right. Although there was a little frustration, he has actually taken to it quite well. He isn't consistent yet, but he is starting to catch himself. I think if we spend a few more weeks on these blends, then when they become more consistent, we can move on to the"th's", then the "r's", which are going to be much more difficult I think.
There was one other word that was driving me CRAZY.
For some reason, the kid COULD NOT say that word. You wouldn't think that it would be a big deal, but 90 percent of Aaron's sentences start with this word, I am not quite sure why, but it is just his way.
Which is why it sticks out so much.
So this week while we were working on the "l's", I started trying to get him to say it right. This was the word that was starting to cause MAJOR breakdowns as the week went on. He would try over and over again, I would break it down,...nothing worked and we were both getting frustrated.
Then I had an A-Ha! moment yesterday on the way home from the mall.
"Aaron, say "mama"
"Now, say Re-mama"
"Now say remember"
Woo Hoo!!!!!! Big celebrations and a BIG smile on that four year old's face.
And then, on the way home from dropping Noah off at school this morning...
"Mommy, reMember when the sun was red this morning?"
So I really am a teacher after all.