Thursday, April 10, 2008

Say What?

Jake just turned 9 and I realize I can’t understand a word he says. He talks so fast and his lips barely move. It sounds like his mouth is full of marbles. He’s usually talking about the subtle difference between his 50 different Bionicles, so I’m not sure how much I’d understand even if he spoke clearly, but I do think we have a problem on our hands. Hubby Tom has swooped in with a Clear Speech Chart hoping to wipe out the problem with bribery, er, incentives. This is the same guy who masterfully fashioned the Potty Chart, Chore Chart and Stop Saying Annoying Things Chart. We have learned from certain experts that incentives work well with some kids, and this seems to be the case with Jake. For Molly, what gets her back on track is losing t.v. time. Since she’s not as heavily charted as Jake, I’m wondering when she’s going to clue in that “being charted” can earn her some neat stuff.

Anyway, Jake’s speech problem went unnoticed for a long time. This kid said his first word at 7 or 8 months old! I have video documentation. Anyway, his early speech so amazed and delighted us that we didn’t notice when his peers, heretofore considered by us to be voiceless lumps, started talking a few years later with clarity and articulation. We had been so busy parading Jake around like a circus performer, “Say constituency!” “Say semaphore!” that we didn’t notice a problem was developing. I am also known as a rather fast talker, so I didn’t consider it a bad thing at first.

We finally got Jake into speech in elementary school, but he hated it. I wasn’t too thrilled with paying $80 a week and was relieved, when at the end of 2 years, the teacher let us go. I am not certain whether it was Jake’s resistance that wore her down, or if she thought he was improving enough to be released. Anyway, here we are, in 3rd grade, and I can’t understand him! I subbed in a high school last week and one of the Seniors had a speech teacher. I know Jake doesn’t want to work on this right now, and doesn’t think he has a problem, but I’d prefer to get this situation under control before high school-- with all of its other stresses and traumas-- begins.

Molly, suffering from an unfortunate lack of teeth, landed in early intervention speech class when she was 3 and eventually hammered out all the sounds that were eluding her. Now she speaks slowly and clearly. I didn’t mind that it took her several extra months to be understood by the general populace. There were some plusses. I found great value in being the only one at ballet class who could tell she had just announced, “I like the smell of my vagina!”


Pamela said...

You continue the tradition of being the most photogenic family. What a lovely shot!

Anonymous said...

I seriously laughed out loud, nodded in agreement, teared up, and then laughed out loud again from reading this. You are amazing and it's warming my heart to re-read you from the beginning.