It is something I’ve known for a while.
We were told our son would grow out of it. That it was because he’s bilingual. That it is his personality…
some of which are true.
As a baby he met every milestone early or on time. I tracked each one carefully, and each one was met with ease. I was actually more concerned about my 2nd born, who met every mile stone late…but that’s his personality. My 2nd born makes up the rules as he goes along and does everything in his own time.
However, there was one milestone my 1st born missed.
The fact is, you would say to him, “Robi, say bye-bye.” And he would purse his lips and not move a muscle. He simply would not speak when told to speak.
And as time went on, he insisted on speaking what I called, “Robi-ese”. He had his own language.
We played along with this for a while, but after some time we grew concerned because he simply wouldn’t grow out of it.
Unsuccessfully I tried to help him, but was met with the familiar refusal to learn.
Finally, we had our first breakthrough when he learned to count. Then he learned to say his name. Scattered throughout his babbling I would find “real words” that gave me hope. Eventually his babbling became less and his real talk became more.
He is now 5 years old. But his language capabilities are still on a 3-year old level.
He often repeats questions back to me.
He understands most commands, but not as much conversation. And he doesn’t converse well at all.
We have avoided taking him to a speech therapist for multiple reasons, which I wont outline here. They are our own personal reasons.
But I have done quite a lot of research and have decided to change my approach in homeschool.
The fact is, my 5-year can recite the alphabet in two languages and recognizes the letters of each alphabet very well. He can count to 30, and would easily learn to count to 40 or higher.
He is very intelligent and his personality is such that it easily lends itself to book learning. He just loves to learn.
So, I have decided to focus on intellectual learning less and language/conversation more.
We will still learn to write a letter and number each week as well as review what we’ve already learned.
Then each day I will choose from the following activities to promote conversation:
1. Imitation/Imagination games: Who are you? Where do you live? What does that animal say? What does that animal do? ect
2. Card games, like Go Fish, Old Maid – games that require interaction and back-and-forth conversation.
3. Building with legos and blocks: What are you building? How can mommy help? What is below, above, beside, beneath, above ect (to promote use of prepositions)
4. Grab bag: Fill a bag with various objects, pull them out, name them promoting use of adverbs and adjectives: “The big, red ball, the fast, blue car….”
6. Art: to promote communication through hearing, comprehending and following through with directions
7. Role play with emotions: talking about what is happy, sad, angry, excited, scared, ect.
8. Reading and discussing what we’ve read
9. Drawing to promote communication both through comprehending and following through with directions and self-expression with which he can communication what he drew and why.
10. Narration: both with self talk and parallel talk. Self talk is when the parent narrates their actions while parallel talk is when the parent narrates the child’s actions. The point is to keep it simple while expanding the child’s vocabulary boundaries. Ask simple open-ended questions and give choices that will help the child to initiate expression.
Daily we will read 2-3 books and then discuss them. Then I will have him read me one book.
We will also daily draw and review our emotions.
My husband and I have also talked about the importance self and parallel talk…
but most of all we plan to:
turn off the TV.
No more morning cartoons and afternoon TV. Perhaps occasionally in the evening, but the TV will remain off significantly more than it has.
Over the next several weeks I would like to write through this process and track how we are doing with the language delay. I’ll be honest and say, I’m not sure exactly how many words my son knows. Its harder since he is bi-lingual. He does use 2-3 word sentences in the present tense. My goal is to expand that, add in prepositions, adjectives and adverbs and help him work on past and future tenses as well as answering more simple questions.
See you next week with an update!
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