Oh Zoya girl....she just makes me laugh. She is so very sassy. I love that her speech is really starting to take off (I remember wondering if I'd ever be able to say that). She surprises us with what she says and how she is really starting to put sentences together. It's so nice being home with her because I can work on speech all day long in normal exchanges throughout the day and it doesn't seem like work to her. She actually LOVES trying to say words correctly when I give her a little help. She gets so excited when the word comes out clear. She tries so so hard to communicate...it's one of my many favorite things about her. Sometimes she sounds like she's speaking Russian, but other times her speech is much clearer! Either way she just keeps trying over and over to get her point across through words and signs. Signs have been so great for us in so many ways.....obviously for her expressive communication, but they've also been great for me to help zoya order her sentences in the correct word order. Kids with apraxia have a hard time putting the words in the right order, especially as sentences get longer. So instead of saying each word and having Zoya repeat one word at a time and having a somewhat broken word by word sentence, I can sign each word to remind Zoya what word to speak. That way her sentence is more fluent and she gets practice saying all the words together not just repeating me word by word. It has helped so much!
We've been focusing a lot on going from 1-2 word utterances to 3-5 word sentences. For example, when Zoya has to go potty, she says "potty." So today we've been working on saying "I go potty," or "I want go potty." Yes I know we're missing a word, but we'll get there....once she gets good with "I want go potty," we'll add in the "to." Another example is that we always make her request to get down from the dinner table after eating. She used to just sign "down," then she would say "down," now she is able to say "I want down please." It's a progressive process and we just add a little bit at a time.
The other thing we've been working on a lot is pronouns. "You" and "Me" is such a hard concept for her, but we're getting there. We do turn taking games to work on this a lot. I've been intentional about saying YOU and pointing and having her do it back to me. We've also been working on "his" and "her" as well. I find pronouns so difficult to teach to her! You can see in the video me asking her "what is her name?" I, of course, pair all the new concepts like this with gestures and pointing.
The other thing in the speech world we're working on is increasing vocabulary and processing spoken language to follow directions better. Zoya understands a lot of what is spoken to her and can follow 1 and 2 step directions fairly well. But every now and then I'm reminded that she still has difficulty processing language. Tonight after Mila's bath Zoya was being my helper. I asked her, "Zoya go get me the comb for Mila out of the bathroom." Zoya happily ran into the bathroom and brought me back a towel! I asked her again. I said, "a comb for her hair." And she brought me back a hair bow! My sweet girl, I just giggled at her sweetness and how she tried so hard! It surprised me because if I said pick the comb and gave her 5 choices, she knows what it is. She obviously knows what a comb is but maybe she couldn't find it or maybe she only heard part of what I said or maybe it's just that missing link between the verbal directive and processing all the language I threw at her. She is so super fabulous and I seriously can't believe how we got so lucky to call her our daughter! So proud of my chicky!
Tonight we were playing the keyboard toy with Mila (who only makes a quick appearance in this video haha). I was playing a back and forth game with Zoya and I would take the keyboard and say "no no no I do!" and change the song. I wanted her to do the same and usually I have to teach her each word and then work on linking them together. Well she surprised me tonight when she shook her finger at me with her sassy attitude and even had an appropriate (although sassy) tone with her words. My little stinker...