Matthews speech has been lagging behind the last few months and it has been a worry. He understands everything and can communicate what he wants, but his words just aren’t coming. This week his speech therapist decided it was time to put a communication system in place, it was difficult to hear, but I knew it was a decision that had to be made.
She decided on combining both Lamh ( sign language) and PECS ( picture exchange communication system). She went through how to introduce them and explained how to involve the whole family and that the signs are here to aid speech development and not replace. Before she left she said to me that she had seen parents gets consumed with speech and that sometimes the words just don’t come, she said to make sure that I don’t get lost down this hole. I nodded and agreed with her knowing deep down that I would be fully immersing myself into getting Matthew to talk and that I just didn’t have room in my heart for an ounce of doubt. That this next journey would undoubtedly become my new obsession.
I have spent the last four days googling and pinteresting everything I could. I have put pictures up of the words we are signing all over the house. I have sat down with the kids and explained what we are doing and have reminded them at every opportunity to do the signs. I have screamed at Gary ( more than once!) for not using the signs and for not letting me spend €150 on a PECS board that is clearly a necessity ( a white board with some Velcro strips). I have told everyone in Matthews day to day life to make sure they are using the signs. I have prepared, we are ready, we will make this work, he will talk.
Yesterday Gary was throwing Matthew up in the air and I was shouting at him for not using the sign ‘up’. Gary looked at me quizzically and he said ‘but he’s saying the word’… Well that was a surprise …. ‘Up up up’ he kept saying. I hadn’t really prepared myself for that to be honest!
I have become an expert on all things speech but it seems along the way I think I forgot to involve Matthew in the process. So I sat down with Matthew and rolled the ball for half an hour, and I forgot about using the sign for ball 150 times and we just played. I would be lying if I said my focus was still not 100% on Matthews speech. I still have no room for doubt, but perhaps it’s possible to enjoy the little victories while still concentrating on conquering the next mountain.