Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spiders and School and Squirrels, Oh My

Garrett has had two more appointments with his speech pathologist since my last blog (or has it been three). Since that time I have also gone back to school to become an EMT. This has set our little world on its head and effectively sent it spinning.

There are rarely spare moments (like the one I stole to write this blog). I'm constantly trying to find time to study and when I'm not studying I'm thinking I should be studying playing with the kids or feeling guilty I'm not playing with the kids studying.

I'd be lying if I said I have been perfect about keeping up with what I'm supposed to be doing with Garrett for his therapy.

Because of that, or maybe not, Garrett has kind of hit a wall. His understanding and speech have really not gone anywhere in the last 3-4 weeks. He continues to be able to give two or three word commands for things he needs or wants but he still cannot tell stories or put things into sequences through verbal communication.

The pathologist has been trying very hard to get him to tell simple stories such as what he did on a particular day or what is going on in a book. If he talks at all it's a bunch of jumbled gobbly gook with a few words thrown in that mean nothing when taken out of context. 

The two events that have encouraged me have been the dead squirrel and spiders.

Tonight, while coming home from the grocery store, Garrett saw a dead squirrel lying in the road.

He correctly identified it as a squirrel and then noted that, "Squirrel fell down."

I confirmed for him that the squirrel had, indeed, fallen down.

Garrett continued with, "Bump his cheek. Boo boo."

I confirmed that I was certain the squirrel did, in fact, have a severe boo boo.

When we got home he continued to talk about the squirrel.

"Squirrel fall down. Bump on the cheek. Hurt. Boo boo. That's naughty."

I corrected him that neither getting a boo boo nor falling down was naughty and that sometimes it just happens and it's okay to get hurt.

He said, "Oh. Okay."

It's really been the first time he has attempted to tell a story that ended up having any kind of sense and flow to it. He's tried to tell many stories before with unsatisfactory results.. i.e. we couldn't understand anything he was trying to tell us. So to have a story, even if it's just three broken sentences, is a huge thing for him.

He's also fascinated by spiders. He hasn't been able to tell me any stories about them but he has been able to alert me with, "Mommy, come here!" and point out spiders wherever he sees them. He's also very good about saying, "Bye bye, spider!" as I flush it down the toilet.

Another part of his therapy I finally got around to doing was making picture prompt cards for him. Previously, whenever John would come home from work and ask Garrett what he did during the day the onslaught of unintelligible blabbering would start. Thrown in would be those few words that meant nothing to me but obviously were sources of great passion for Garrett.

The pathologist then suggested that I make picture cards of places we commonly go and things we commonly do and as he does the activity or goes to the place, upon returning home I was to put the picture card on display so that when John got home he could take Garrett to his activity board and run him through the prompts to get him to tell the story of his day.

I started out taking pictures of these places but decided to get crafty and ended up making construction paper pieces instead....

I think they turned out pretty good. If I may say so myself.

I will admit that I am extremely jealous of parents who can talk and dialog with their young kids. In our play group there are several 2-4 year olds who have regular dialogs with their parents. They tell stories, communicate wants and desires, give their opinions. I ache to do that with my son. Then I feel like crap because I realize there are parents out there with children with much greater disabilities who will never be able to dialog with their children even to the extent that I can with my son.

I am trying to be content with what I have while also trying to press for betterment and the best for my son... all while trying to be a mom to my daughter, a wife to my husband, a student, a housekeeper, an accountant, an instructor, a friend, a sister, a daughter and whatever other role I'm forgetting I need to play at this particular moment.

Right now, however, I think I need to play the "sleeping person" role.