Wow, indeed! Firstly, one of the hallmarks of Mia’s condition is inconsistency. That sentence that amazed me last week, whilst amazing in it’s own right, is not typical. Yet! But tonight I have had a similar experience. Mia likes to play a game with me at night after her little brothers are in bed. Time for Mummy and daughter. I rather meanly use it to help her too, usually! Slug in a Jug is a game of rhymes with cards and pictures. I selected some that have ‘b’ and ‘p’ beginnings e.g. ‘bed’, ‘bear’, ‘pea’, ‘bread’ and lots that have a ‘c’ sound at the beginning and end of the words – amongst other words as obviously I had to have all the rhyming ones in too. We made a game of matching pairs – my tired brain is no match for Mia’s outstanding visual memory!
So Mia read (well, there are pictures too, but she read some!) and spoke all the words well enough, I think, for anyone to understand. Things like ‘lock’ and ‘clock’. Amazing. ‘Balloon’ and ‘baboon’ were a bit tricky, but still! The ‘c’ came so easily and stuck – she accurately put them at the start (for ‘cat’) and end of words tonight. We are working hard on out ‘p’ and ‘b’. They seem to be really tricky to secure accurately and consistently. It is the transition from voiced to unvoiced in a word with the ‘p’ sound, and a need for tight lips no out breath for the ‘b’.
Something Hannah, one of our therapists, said a week ago really helped me address it better at home. Knowledge is power! She said studies have been done on the ‘p’ and ‘b’, and everyone does the same amount of out breath for them. Everyone! There is out breath for ‘p’ and it is unvoiced. The ‘b’ has no out breath – just a wee expulsion from your mouth when you say it. And you use tight lips, and your lips are vibrated with your voice box. This is my understanding, anyway, having been sat with my hand over my mouth to feel for air going ‘p’, ‘b’, ‘p’, ‘b’ over the last week. Try it – it’s quite interesting! But of course, I took that knowledge and used it at home.
All our ‘b’ words are getting better. We have been reading a book each night this week called ‘Say Boo to the Animals’ by Ian Whybrow and Tim Warnes. Needless to say it has lots of ‘BOO’ in it, so we go for a short, loud and hard ‘BOO!’. They get better everyday. The book has a good rhythm and is fun to read. Mia says it along with me. It has gone down so well with my rather particular daughter I have renewed it from the library!
Speaking of particular! Mia has been on a cycling course with some Occupational Therapists this week for 4 days. On the first day she developed an obsession with lane 4 of the running track in the room we were in (at a sports centre). Also, orange cones. They had to be orange. After some initial teething problems, we settled down. Mia gave a bit and so did they – letting her do lane 4 at the end of the last session today! Its is hard to know if these behaviours are about control for her in a world that fazes her (common with severe speech and language problems), or if there is a high-functioning autism thing going on. She can now ride her bike with some skill for a new rider – weaving in and out. My issue, as her Mum, might be her fearlessness eeeek! I fake it well though (being fearless for her I mean!). One very happy girl – full of a sense of achievement – a joy to see!