It's amazing how far Emma has come with her speech therapy. It has always been her most hated therapy; not because of her therapists (nearly all who were very sweet and encouraging) but because it is so gosh darn H A R D for her. So more often than not she refused to participate, instead finding fascination in the most minuscule of items. All her therapists put her in the most bland room where there was nothing to look at in the hope that Emma would participate and not be distracted but she was always able to find fascination in a light switch that never moved or a light that stayed on. I cried a lot in the early days after her speech and hearing sessions because I just wanted Emma to make some progress so so badly.
When we moved and Emma started at her new school a spark ignited and she started to participate better. Her SLP is amazing to work with and Emma just clicked with her and let me tell you when a child clicks with her therapist amazing things happen! Emma started letting her SLP in on all that she knows, first by switches and then through various higher technology talkers as we tried to find the right device to buy. When Emma picked the Eco2 (her Evie) as her talker of choice we were happy to move forward with customizing Evie with her interests instead of the generic boards of the borrowed devices.
Emma was doing well with the initial word set we created so this week we added in a lot more new words and Emma rose to the challenge. Many of the words (like please, in, feel, hug) were brand new to Evie and somehow Emma knew just how to use them. I mentioned on Tuesday that Emma said a few things over the course of an hour that day and I was so thrilled with that because it was the most she used it in an outside the home setting. Today I found out she has been holding back on us.
I had a meeting already scheduled for today with her SLP and before we got to the reason for our meeting she had to share what happened in her school speech session yesterday. She had it all written down and was grinning ear to ear about it. I was in shock at how much Emma said in her session and just have to share.
Below is what her SLP wrote down during the session. So glad she was able to share all of it with me! Note: All words selected by Emma via her eyegaze are in italics. Each word in italics requires Emma to select it so if she says play doll, she needs to select play and then select doll, thus stringing the two words together.
- SLP asked Emma what she wanted to play with. Emma said doll.
- Then Emma said want Erica and looked over at Erica, her aide, and gave her a big smile.
- SLP didn't have a doll in the room so she was hoping Emma might change her mind. She selected the toys option and asked Emma to pick again and Emma selected play doll so the SLP went and got a doll :-)
- SLP asked Emma how the doll feels. Emma said bad
- SLP was confused and so she said the doll feels bad?
- Emma said need
- SLP said need?
- Emma said need hug
- Her doll needed a hug - oh my gosh how cute is that!!! So the SLP gave Emma the doll to hug and she hugged her for a long time.
- Then Emma said in stander
- SLP and Erica didn't know if this meant Emma wanted the doll to stand or if Emma was used to being in the stander at that time of day. So for now we don't know what she meant.
- SLP asked what Emma wanted to play with the doll
- Emma said ball, so they rolled the ball between Emma and the doll and Emma laughed the entire time.
- Erica left to go to the bathroom
- Emma said want Erica
- Emma again said want Erica
- When Erica came back into the room, Emma said hi and then smiled at Erica
- Then Emma said toy drink smoothie
- They pretended the doll drank a smoothie and her SLP told her it was time for her to go back to the classroom. The 30 minutes were up. Seriously, all this happened in just under 30 minutes. My mind is quite blown away by this.
- Emma then said play please
- SLP and Erica could not refuse her that request - they were tearing up with all Emma had said and then she said please. Oh, my! How could they resist? So they agreed to play a bit more with her and then said it was now time to go.
- Emma said want friends meaning she was ready to go back to the classroom where her friends were.
- Then she said (and this is a button that has a phrase in it so it said it all at once rather than Emma having to string it all together) well, I must be going now
Look out, Emma, the bar is set high for you to achieve. I have no doubt about your abilities and your team doesn't, either. 2013 is going to be your year. I can't wait to hear all you have to say!
And now I'm off to add Love to the feel words because I can't wait for you to say Mommy I Love You.