Mikey is talking now. Quite a bit, really. He sings song, quotes movies, mimics us all the time. But to someone other than his immediate family, it still doesn’t sound like much more than baby babble. That’s because Mikey can’t (won’t?) say lots of different consonant sounds. That combined with the fact that he likes to end almost every word with the “s” sound, makes understanding him challenging.
The consonant sounds that he will make regularly are b-h-m-p-s-sh. He occasionally will throw something else in there but not very often. So he’s 2 1/2 and he’s never said “daddy.” We don’t really know at this time why he seems unable to make more sounds. We’re trying not to worry too much about it. But if you can imagine trying to speak using only those consonant sounds with vowel sounds, you can imagine what it sounds like when Mikey speaks. We know that in time he will learn to speak but he will likely be in speech therapy for years. It’s frustrating for him and leads to many of his meltdowns. I know the thoughts are in his head, the same thoughts that other 2 and 3 year olds have and are able to articulate. But Mikey can’t tell us what he’s thinking a lot of the time. He can’t tell us that he’s scared. He can’t tell us that he wants me to draw a purple dragon for him. He can’t tell me that he wants to watch Veggie Tales and not Elmo. He can’t tell me that he really wants to wear his striped shirt today. He can’t tell me wants to play playdough. We spend lots of time reading his body language in addition to his verbal language to figure out what he’s saying. I’ve gotten pretty good at it but even I don’t know what he’s trying to tell me all the time.
Mikey substitutes the consonants that he can say for those that he can’t. And for some reason he sometimes substitutes other consonant sounds for things he can say. But he’s always very consistent with how he says them. Here are some examples.
boos = juice
miss = milk
pees = pink and please but they sound a little different and he usually signs “please” when he says that
moos = more, usually accompanied by the sign
bwue = blue
eeya = green
ice bees = icream but ice really sounds more like ass that ice
pus = cup
poos = school and computer
har = car
bass = bath
hoss = hot and socks
ho = cold He says with a very exaggerated long o and shivers when he says it
es = yes
pays = play
pois = park
oh = no, again with the exaggerated long o and a sour expression
hoos = shoes
os = on and off, yes this can get confusing which is why we have to read body language
So like if Mikey wants to say that he wants to take his shoes and socks off he would say “Hoos a hoss oss.” Or if Mikey wants more hot milk, he would say “Moos hoss miss, pees.” Makes perfect sense to me but you would probably be like…huh? We’re just used to it for the most part. If we understand what he’s saying we always say it back to him correctly and not make a big deal out of it. When we understand him, his whole body smiles. If we just really can’t get it, we’ll tell him to show us and he’ll take our hand and take us to what he’s talking about. Sometimes every day I’ll try to focus on a certain sound for a little while and try to get him to say it. I’ll put his hands on my face while I make the “k” sound. Sometimes he’ll try really hard and sometimes he refuses to participate at all.
Right now his speech doesn’t seem to bother him a whole lot. But I know as he gets older and kids (and adults) begin to try to have actual conversations with him more, it’s going to get harder on him. He was asked this evening by a little girl what his name is. She asked him three times. He didn’t say anything. He’s never said his name.
Sometimes I hurt for him. And sometimes I hurt with him. He will learn. In his way and in his time.