For the last year and a half I have been often heard quoting “never tell me the odds” as Harry seemed to always be the kid that didn’t do anything by the book.
This phrase reminded me of a movie and sure enough it is a quote from one of the best Bloke movies of all time. To give you a clue, I feel like the Force has been with us in recent months; there have been no major illnesses, Harry’s balance is showing signs of strengthening close to normality and his speech has jumped into Hyperspace.
“Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1.”
“Never tell me the odds.”
Forgive me for using the Star Wars analogy but as I have spent the last few months convincing myself his slower progress with speech and his desire to only mimic words related to food, cars or trains is directly linked to his gender, I am going to run with it as appropriate.
In the last 2 weeks Harry has managed to surpass my stereotyping and is able to parrot a huge percentage of what we are saying to him. This is a skill you will notice in most 18 month- 2 year olds. You say a word and they repeat it back to you several times and then it forms part of their vocabulary. Given Harry’s hearing age is 19 months ( 17 if you take out the 2 months he was sick this time last year) this is spot on. In the near future we can wish he surpasses his hearing age to have birth-age appropriate speech and language skills , but for now I am thrilled.
In his speech lesson this week, Beth and I spoke of his huge increase in vocab and given his desire to take in the language we are now moving to weekly sessions. This will give us the time to start working on expanding his vocabulary to include verbs or action words to add to the nouns and names he has learnt. With the addition of verbs he will be more able to start putting small sentences together. At the moment he is able to say 2-3 words together but they are phrases such as “see you later” rather than combining individual words.
I have dug into a great resource which Cochlear provides on their website. It is called the “Listen, Learn and Talk Auditory Habilitation Theory”. So for us laymen it is a chart showing age appropriate stages of listening and speech for babies and toddlers. Checkout http://www.cochlear.com/wps/wcm/connect/au/home/support/rehabilitation-resources/early-intervention/listen-learn-and-talk/listen-learn-and-talk
Harry has mastered all the 16-18 month old skills. In listening he discriminates between phrases and is now imitating words heard.The section of Expressive Language covers the following for a 16-19 month old.
o Jargon disappears
o Increases vocabulary, 10 or more meaningful words
o Decreases use of gesture – relies on talking to communicate
o Imitates words heard
o Asks for more Receptive Language
o Understands more simple questions
o Begins to understand longer phrases with key word in middle of sentence
o Identifies more body parts
o Finds familiar object not in sight
o Understands 50 or more words and for speech in this age group
For Speech in this age group toddlers increase single word approximations , most vowels are present but they still mainly producing front consonants [p, b, d, m, n, h, w].
They next age group is 19-24months and there are certainly skills here he is yet to master but by no means does he need to master them all.
For listening (audition) at this age they need to master the following list:
Auditory memory of 2 items,Discriminates songs ( yes mastered), Comprehends a variety of phrases ( yes mastered), Discriminates descriptive phrases ( not sure about that one!), Follows a two step direction, e.g. Get your ball and throw it. ( yes with very familiar routine such as shoes and socks)
Then there is Expressive language
Uses new words regularly
o Increases expressive vocabulary to 30 words or more ( mastered)
o Attempts “stories” –longer utterances in jargon to get message across ( certainly not here yet)
o Begins to use own name when talking about self ( this will come )
o Uses possessive pronouns – mine ( certainly not here yet)
o May ask where questions Where car?
o By 24 months may use2 – 3 word phrases with nouns, some verbs and some adjectives ( this is what we are targeting in Speech classes)
The Receptive language and Speech sections for this age bracket are what we are working towards. I can list them here so you get an understanding of our benchmark and they are only a guide as each child is unique ( of course)
o Completes two requests with one object
o Chooses two familiar objects
o Comprehends action phrases
o Points to a range of body parts, e.g. elbow, cheek
o Begins to understand personal pronouns –my, mine, you
o Recognizes new words daily
o Increases comprehension – decodes simple syntax
o By 24 months understands 250 – 300 words
o Approximates words
o Substitutes /w/ for /r/
o Uses suprasegmental features
o Most vowels and diphthongs present
o Consonants [k, g, t, ng] emerging
o Consonants[p, b, m, h, n, d] established – used in initial position in words
o Consonants often omitted in medial and final position
Let me end on this note. There is not an ounce of delay on Harry’s Cognitive skills . He has developed ahead of the game in this area and has really great fine motor skills ( probably to balance out the slightly delayed gross motor skills)
The list the provide for this age in this category goes as follows ands I can tick them all!
o Imitates symbolic play, e.g. household activities
o Uses one object as symbol for another
o Places triangle, circle, square in shape board
o Imitates vertical strokes
o Threads three beads
o Begins to tear paper
o Imitates ordering of nesting cups
o Begins to categorize objects in play
o Uses two toys together
o Stacks blocks/builds tower
o Completes simple pull out puzzle
o Activates mechanical toy
Please watch the videos below to see Harry’s progress.
I know I’ve said it before but it is “AWESOME”