Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Making it Official

I'm back to beating the proverbial dead horse again, but this time with some official information.  After the pediatrician-recommended Speech and Language Pathology Evaluation, Dylan has a diagnosis, and we have a sort of a plan.

The results of the "receptive" part of the assessment rank Dylan at an age equivalent of about 2 years 4 months, actually slightly ahead of his actual 2 years 1 month.  Just shows that, like I always tell people, Dylan can understand everything I say.

But on the "expressive" portion, he ranked in the 1st percentile with an age equivalent of 1 year 0 months.  He's a complete year "behind."

Thankfully, however, there is no cause for concern.  The therapist feels he will talk when he's ready; right now he sees no need for it.  In the meantime (which may be a long time), we've been encouraged to take several specific actions to help him gain confidence:

- Parallel talk: we're supposed to let him direct the play, and we label the crap out of everything he does, constantly repeating nouns and verbs until we've annoyed even ourselves.

- Expansion: we get to mimic every noise he makes, giving him confidence in the sounds he's capable of and encouraging him to try out new ones.

Things we're supposed to avoid:

- Pressuring him to talk: if we ask questions, they should be ones he can answer non-verbally.  We can ask things like, "Where's Dylan's nose?" because he can just point to it and receive affirmation.  I also have to stop trying to get him to repeat me.  For now, we just just repeat him.

- Descriptive words: when we label, we're supposed to stick to simple ideas like "dog."  Once he starts to make a sound that resembles "dog," we can expand to things like, "Yes!  Dog.  Black dog."

After just a few days of sticking to the plan, he's already started to make a lot more noise.  That's all it is right now - noise.  But realizing that he's basically a 1 year old in the expressive communication department will help me to be patient when he can't tell me why he's crying.  The therapist said that he should start to learn new consonants and sounds over the next 4 to 6 months, and that as long as he does that, we have no reasons to worry.

We've trained Adam on the plan, and he took to it immediately.  You can see him in this clip modeling both the parallel talk and the expansion.

I did have to laugh when a new family acquaintance told me, "Yeah, you're little one doesn't talk to me much," assuming Dylan was just being shy around a new face.

"No," I assured him.  "He just doesn't talk at all."

I'm still looking forward to the day when say, "Why did I ever wish he would talk..."


Christopher said...

Glad you guys were able to go see a specialist about it and that you have some things you can do to work on it. Anxious to hear how he progresses over time.

Kris said...

That last comment was from me. I didn't realize I was signed in as Christopher. :-p

Rebecca and Nick said...

What a sweet big brother to help and play! They are both cuties.

Logan Gifford said...

I don't start speaking until about D's age, so don't worry. Most people see me now and wish I never talked. He will soon make up for the time of silence! :)