Friday, May 09, 2008
Cleft Speak - or - What I Wish I'd Known
Micah had his first evaluation by the speech pathologist. We went to visit him in his little speech lab. He walks in and says to Micah, "Hi, I'm Jay." I immediately love this guy! Micah? Not so much. He breaks into full meltdown mode. LOL
During the evaluation, Dr. Riski tells us what smart parents we are and how much we're teaching him. "Are you sure you're rookies?" he asks. We're beaming with pride at our success. Then he gives us the punchline. "You've got the perfect recipe for Cleft Speak. A smart child and two motivated parents." A backhanded compliment to be sure.
He told us that Micah is completely unable to make many of the sounds in the English language. But because he's a smart child he will figure out a way to accommodate and say the sound anyways. We have been so excited as Micah added new sounds. But with each new sounds comes a new bad habit that will have to be unlearned when his palate is closed. Who knew???
The doctor gave us some exercises to help Micah to learn better speech habits for the future. He is able to make many sounds correctly by plugging his nose so air comes out his mouth. We are practicing b's, p's and s's this way. He is also learning to blow on a whistle with his nose plugged. Yesterday we blew bubbles, again by plugging his nose.
There are some sounds that he is unable to make, even with his nose plugged. K's and g's are a couple. We're to avoid teaching him new words with these sounds. What do you tell a boy who loves Mickey Mouse? Another bad habit is saying "oh oh." Now Mama and Baba are trying to break that habit too.
I wish I'd know that going in. I'm not sure how much it would have changed what we did, but it would have been nice to know. Many children with open palates don't talk a lot so it's not an issue. But Micah talks non-stop. I'm posting here so others who find themselves with a highly verbal child with an open palate can be prepared.