Friday, November 20, 2009

Saying It With Love: Worries Over Delayed Speech

This was a forum post I made at the GirlTalk boards. I think it's long enough to be a post on its own.

My son was a delayed talker and I had so much anxiety and fears over his development. It becomes difficult when people start asking "Ilan taon na anak mo? bakit ganyan magsalita?" (How old is your boy? How come he talks that way?) or "Ano raw? anong sinasabi nya?" (What did he just say?)

Matipid sya mag salita (He doesn't talk much). At age 3 1/2, he would only ask for water or whatever he needed at the moment, he would rather point at it because it made things easier for him. There would be no random storytelling unlike other kids who would just blabber about anything that strikes them funny or interesting.

My son would say "Mommy water" If he needed a drink. But that's about it. He nods when asked. But from the get go, I know he understands me and what I ask of him. He understands basic requests like "Please close the door" or "Button your shirt, honey". In a day, he would make play sounds, but not talk at all.

At age 4, he tries to talk but gets frustrated because his sentences come out weird, it becomes this secret code that only me and his Dad could decipher or comprehend. His playmates couldn't understand him, so he really gets frustrated that the other kids won't play with him. His speech would have mixed sounds like "Aaaaah" or "Mmmm" to fill in actions or words he's trying to describe. I could see it in his face that he's really trying to explain his thoughts, but fails to articulate it properly.

My sister tells me, because he's a boy, he won't talk as fast or as early as girls do. Maybe. My niece was already a loud and fast talker at age 1 1/2 years old.

Cow is 5 years old now. His speech has improved, he talks a lot about everything that piques him, madaldal super! It surprises me how he overcame that non-talking phase.

But it wasn't easy. We made it a point to talk to him and always engage him in conversation. We always ask Cow questions that will force him to answer beyond the usual 'yes' or 'no'. Like instead of asking, "Do you want a glass of water?" We ask Cow, "What would you like to drink?"  Something like that, it sort of became like an exercise for us.

His Dad was the uber patient one who made all the efforts, he showed my son how to pronounce words, demonstrating with his own mouth and lips. I guess he's the reason my son's speech is 'good' or now appropriate for his age.

Now my son can be glib at times, especially when it’s about food. Now he tells me "Kissy love makes ice tea bubble. I can taste it with my heart and brain!”