Friday, June 26, 2009

Finally ...

Something seriously wonderful is going on with Truman and speech and feeding. I posted a few weeks ago that something seem to be starting to happen, but it was hard to really pinpoint. Basically, starting the day we left on vacation on June 10, Truman began adding words -- like 2 or 3 a day every day we were on our trip. Truman had about 10-12 words before we left. He's tripled that in the last two weeks.

Most of these new words probably can't be understood by others, but this is HUGE. He was just busting out with random words, like we were eating cake and he just grabbed a fork, said "cake" completely clearly and started eating some. So many times, we would say something and he would try to mimic us spontaneously. This is something we have NEVER seen before. He had started over the last month or so to be more receptive to prompting attempts to mimic, but it was never something he did on his own. It's like we are watching the brain re-wire right in front of our eyes. Here's some of what he's added this month:
  • cake
  • moon
  • Okey Dokey (comes out "gogee gogee")
  • bear
  • door
  • key
  • car
  • bumblebee (this one is really cute, because it's like "bahBEE")
  • Mama (with Ms, not Bs)
  • No (very clear)
  • shoes
  • socks
  • home
  • sweep
  • up
  • down
  • drink
  • silly
  • sleep
  • me
  • two (can actually answer the how old are you question now)
  • Aha!
  • girl
  • boy

There are a lot more I can't remember at the moment, but it's is so amazing to watch. He's also signing a lot more and doing so spontaneously. Often, he combines the spoken word and the signed word.

And, if that wasn't enough ... Truman has only vomited once in the last two weeks and has eaten several bites of table food at different meals. It's like all the setbacks we had while he was sick completely disappeared. He even ate meat.

There were several times during our trip that Ben and I just looked at each other with tears in our eyes as we watched all this. I feel like we can finally take a deep breath for the first time in almost three years.

Monday, June 8, 2009

First Day at Callier

Today was Truman's first day at the Callier SmILE program. It's the speech disorder program I wrote about a month or so ago. It's basically group speech therapy with a pre-school structure to it. There was the SLP who directed it, and a graduate student instructing as well, so a 2:1 student-teacher ratio. I was able to be there for the first 25 minutes or so, and Ben stayed the whole time and observed through a two-way mirror.

In Truman's class of four, he was the only one who did not cry or get upset. He was clearly the most independent and social of the group .... But, he was also the one hardest to corral since he flits about from activity to activity like crazy. I think not only will this be good for him from the speech therapy perspective, but also from the structure. They had circle time, story time, snack time, gym time, and so on with a clear break between each activity and an expectation of participation. They also had a theme to the day's lessons.

During snack time, not only did he dump out his cup of water, he did the same for the other children as well. Hey, it could be worse. He could be inattentive and grumpy and tantrum-prone. At least he's a happy and sweet distractor.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Something's Up

To balance my last post, I have to report that something very positive is happening with Truman and speech over the last few weeks. It's not so much that he is really talking or even added more than a few words (which is in and of itself huge for Truman), but he's adding appropriate sounds like "pah" for park (which I count as a word) and "lew" when he signs "I Love You." Even his speech therapist is noticing.

I don't how to explain what's really going on because it probably wouldn't seem like much to others, but those whose children have speech disorders probably understand. Truman even brought Ben the phone the other day and insisted "Baba" (which is what he calls me). Ben dialed it, and I answered the phone to an actual "Hiiiiii" on the other end. That's all he said, but it was so sweet.

We've been working really hard with picture cards and more signing and switched to DHA-enhanced milk. We don't know what's working, but I am so excited about him starting the speech disorder program next week because I feel like he is a place where he is very receptive to language expansion right now.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Big Setbacks in Eating

No, no ... anything but food!!

Truman has had two different illnesses within a span of about four weeks. The first one was accompanied by a really sore throat. The second was a stomach bug with nausea (in addition to his regular vomiting). As a result, he has resorted to almost a liquid diet again. We can't get any solids (even the easy stuff like yogurt) in him with a giant struggle and a giant puke.
It doesn't help that during this process, Truman finally acquired the skill of drinking a bottle by himself. While this skill has given us the freedom to take him to a restaurant and allow him to drink his own dinner, it came at a very inopportune time because now that he's better and can handle solids again, he doesn't want any part of them.
Will this eating saga never end? We just want normalcy, even if for just a day or two.