My mission in life lately has been to try to get Alanna to talk. The more reasonable part of me says that if I just let her talk on her own and give her lots of opportunity to practice (which she does during her six hours of therapy every day) she will. But the wound up, anal part of me wants progress so badly.
Here's the funny thing. The girl can talk. She has had some great words, many of which are as clear as day. Sometimes, she will echo a word clear as a bell. The problem is that she doesn't retain anything for long. Words that come and go (or have come and gone) include go, muffin, pretzel, bubbles, up, no, ball, sticker, playdough, juice, round and round. She used to also try to read this book called "I Can Dress Myself". It was cute to see. But this was only when she read it over and over again for days. Sometimes we get random echos back for words she hears. It seems like it's all motivation with her.
Trying to run the standard echoic (verbal imitation) types of ABA programs don't work. You can tell her to say "ba", but she has no idea what ba is unless you try to pair "ba" will something she may want, like "bubbles". But she can approximate better than "ba" for bubbles, usually. We have several words we are using Kaufman cards with - starting at a lower approximation and moving to higher ones as she masters the lower ones. Again though I hope as we move up she retains the words. I would much rather her be able to say /b/ whenever she wants than "bubbles" on and off. I'll take slow and steady with retension over long phrases or even words at this point.
This week we are going to see a speech language pathologist (SLP) with some experience with PROMPT. PROMPT is a technique used for dyspraxia of speech, which basically means a person has trouble getting their oral muscles to do the right thing. Obviously to Alanna hearing the sound is not enough to imitate it, at least most of the time. PROMPT is designed to help cue the child by moving their mouths into the right position to make the sound. So far Alanna has been reasonably tolerant of manipulation of her mouth. I hope this can help her make the right sounds! I'm pumped!