I’d say he has about 20-30 words that he speaks clearly and consistently now. More, star, car, want, pop, no, zoo, white, the numbers 1-12, 23 letters of the alphabet, and a few more I can’t think of as I write this. A definite pattern exists, most of the words are nouns and most of the words relate to things he is profoundly interested in. The rest of his speech is about 25-30% recognizable to a stranger.
The past two weeks have been difficult for Liev, primarily because he has been ill. He has missed daycare and been more sensitive and prone to meltdowns. Intense speech therapy was sometimes put on the back burner while I coped with my tearful son. Nonetheless, here’s our progress:
Liev seems to have great difficulty communicating internal states to us. He does not consistently indicate when he is hungry, thirsty, hot, cold or in pain. He also uses no words or signs for his emotional states. Recently, he has said “brrrrr!” when cold and will clack his teeth to indicate tooth pain. We are working with him intensely to use gestures (sign) to show hunger/thirst rather than bringing me his cup or booster seat. Since he has been feeling unwell, this has been a major priority and we could really use some good advice.
I have been focusing not on the addition of new words (which he accomplishes easily), but the pronunciation of existing words. He has not regained the improved pronunciation that he had when my mom was here. Liev typically utters the first syllable of a word and does not bother with the rest. He can, however count to 12 with clarity.
Liev now completely “gets” the word mine, which is has become a source for meltdowns of late. Auuugh! He also says “where,” but it is unclear if he “gets” the meaning of the word or is just repeating it as part of a game.
He uses two word combinations regularly, but is reticent when pressed. He has begun to string together three words; such as “want…bath…open” (open the door to the bathroom). His “I want that!” from a few weeks ago has vanished.
Liev’s pronunciation has slipped a bit—he has gone back to good days/bad days.
Verbal reports from daycare staff indicate that he continues to do well there, the director commented on “how far he has come” and “how quickly he has adjusted.” I have begun to leave Liev for the full four hours so that he can have the experience of sitting and eating lunch with his peers. He is finicky about the food, but otherwise he is adjusting nicely.
At home, we have playing social games like chase and hide and seek. Liev has been imitating Papa as he rakes leaves and quickly followed Papa’s example in learning how to fall in a pile of leaves. We have also been playing “airplane” with him (where we pretend to be airplanes flying) and he mimics us with gusto. Physical games engage him and bring out cooperative behavior and a few words.