I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about the big picture items related to raising a disabled child. I talk about the doctors, the challenges, the stress, the appointments, but I don’t really spend a lot of time giving you all an everyday update on the little man. So, here we go.
The little man has seen some small improvements lately. His speech therapist began a new series of exercises a little over a month ago leading to an increase in his range of sounds. We have been hearing all new constant sounds coming out of this mouth. This is excellent!
In addition to the new sounds, he has a variety of words/sounds that he uses consistently. Here is his list: hi/hey, bye, mine/me, yes/yeah, ball, bubbles, high five, [fist] bump, his sister’s name, the dog’s name (he calls both dogs the same name), bite. He uses “mine” more as a question – i.e. “Can I watch my show? Can I have my ball” etc. Also, He is very good as making a “ba” sound for anything that begins with the letter b and says “mmmmm” when he likes a taste with the zeal of someone eating for the first time.
His speech therapist is also working on chewing and pushing out his tongue. The little man understands how to bite, but he doesn’t really chew. She is encouraging him to bite a certain number of times in a row using flavored sticks and gummies wrapped in gauze. He loves the sweet taste, of course, and sometimes cooperates. The tongue is a bit more difficult for his. Pushing it out past his teeth is a challenge, but she has succeeded in getting his to consistently stretch his muscles by putting a flavored tongue depressor on his lips.
The little man expects an audience when he does his therapy and insists on bubbles when he finishes the task. He is also a sneaky little guy who likes to show off by doing the exact opposite of what you are asking.
People always ask if our daughter is “good” with the little man. Well, she reacts to him the same way she would react to any four year old. Sometimes she will humor him and play a bit. To her, he is usually annoying, but great to cuddle. It is awesome to make him laugh, but she tires well before he does. Just because he is disabled doesn’t mean our household is free from hearing “Be nice to your brother” “Don’t smush your brother” “Give that back to your brother.” I consider this a great success. Yeah, she knows her brothers limitations, but treats him just like any other kid. Sometimes, she gets a perk – he can’t follow her down the hallway and burst into her room. On the other hand, he tries to monopolize her sleepovers. It really is your typical sibling relationship, just with some adaptive equipment thrown into the mix.