Micah's speech has come such a long way in the past year. He has such an awesome speech therapist, and both his teacher and aide do amazingly well with him too. And what's even better is that all 3 of those Grade A support staff for Micah collaborate on everything so they're all working on exactly the same thing all the time. It's been effective. And because all that isn't enough, they send home speech homework so that we can work with Micah at home, know what he's learning at school to reinforce it, and learn the sign language that he's learning along with him. 360 Speech. That's what I'm calling it.
But despite how far his speech has come, he's still not entirely understood by those around him. If you're not familiar with Micah, you wouldn't understand him much at all. If you're in his circle, you'll get a lot of what he's saying. But even those of us who are the most familiar with him frequently misunderstand him or simply can't make heads or tails of what it is he's trying to say.
I was down at the school the other day talking to Micah's aide. Micah chose to tell us the story of his day. I was sure he ended his speech with "church" because that's what the boy lives for. He loves going to God's house. His aide was just as sure he ended with "lunch" because the boy really loves to eat, and he'd just gotten back from his favorite mid-day school activity. Since both those words end in "ch" and that's pretty much the only sound he says in either word, it really could have been either.
I got a note home in Micah's Friday folder that he was in time out and got a yellow warning for telling his aide to "die." He didn't want to hang up his snow pants after recess, and they argued back and forth over this for a few minutes before Micah realized he needed to listen. He yelled "die!" and hung up his snow pants. As you can imagine, this did not sit well with the people in charge of making that stubborn boy behave.
I laughed when I read that note in his take-home folder. Because I'm that kind of parent. But the other side of the story is that Micah says that to us all the time at home. I started it. Except we don't tell anyone to die. We say, "fine!"
Micah, it's bedtime.
Yes. Head upstairs and get dressed.
(He signs "apple," which he uses for "applesauce," which is his way of saying he wants a Melatonin to help him sleep. Not that he cares about going to sleep, but he does care about procrastinating at bedtime. And he has learned that this is an effective way to do that.)
Me: "Fine! Go get some applesauce and then head upstairs."
So he not only picked up the word "fine," but my attitude that goes along with it. He frequently yells "FINE" as he realizes that he just lost a battle and has to comply. It really does sound like "die," and Sam is convinced that he secretly thinks that about 86.3% of the time.
It's like an in-home language barrier that we deal with. Every single day.