Max’s speech delay only really becomes apparent when he tries to talk.
No really. Check it out:
To look at, you’d think he was maybe 4 or so, and just a quiet one. His sense of humour is very much intact, he loves playing games on the computer and such, and one of his favourite songs is Dumb Ways to Die. And when I talk about how he’s started talking, I’m betting you assume it’s more or less fully functioning words. Unfortunately it’s a little more tricky than that!
It’s not until you realise that this kid is 6 years and 3 months old, and hear his speech (which has come on OHSOMUCH) that you realise just how significant it is.
Here, have a nosey:
Max is saying “I want red popcorn chicken please”.
What he actually wants is the red packet of Butterkist toffee popcorn.
But since he first tasted KFC’s popcorn chicken, ALL popcorn is popcorn chicken.
And now you see a wee insight to the huge delay my wee man has when it comes to his speech.
It’s still *mostly* needing to be prompted, though we are getting some completely random bits of chatter, and it’s still at the point where only the people who spend loads of time with him will understand.
That’s the main reason we use a system called PECS. Picture Exchange Communication System.
He has a book filled with velcro-backed small pictures. The first says “I want…” and then he can choose from any of the items or activities that are available. He’s taken to add in colours to differentiate what flavour of crisps or what colour car and such he would like.
Red is most definitely his favourite colour, as far as I’m aware!
The PECS and visuals that we have in place have been a *huge* part of getting him to sleep through the night, and help him feel less frustrated about being unable to express himself.
We’ve a long road ahead of us, but I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that it’s a journey we’ll complete, and one we’ll do WELL!