We have been seeing some slight improvements in language for Ayden recently. I always hesitate to say anything or get excited about him saying new words because he often loses them after a short amount of time - but here it is anyhow! Of course each time I hope it will be different and the words will stick around, but I have yet to see that happen.
This time though..well, it feels different.
We worked a lot on getting Ayden to say "mama" since he was making the M sounds so well. Work like that is always a lot of tears, usually for both of us. He doesn't like it and I don't like to see him so sad either. We persevere though, and instead of just saying words randomly this time, Ayden is able to actually repeat the words back to us on command.
Why is this part so important? Due to the FXS, Ayden has what is called Developmental Apraxia of Speech (DAS). What this means is that the area of his brain that tells the muscles how to move and what to do to make a particular sound or series of sounds is not fully developed or functional. This makes retrieving the motor plan for saying a word difficult. With DAS, frequently a child may be able to produce a sound or word at one time and not be able to say it again when he wants.
Back to Ayden then, he is now able to repeat about 4 or 5 words after me when I ask him, and has another 2-3 words/phrases that he is saying at the correct time, but is unable to reproduce when asked. For example, he will often say "all done" as he signs it, but when I ask him to say "all done" he is unable to say it. I'm finding as he is able to speak words on command, following the same beginning sounds seems to be easiest for him when I request a new word. So we will go over the words he knows, then begin trying to get him to repeat words with similar sounds. "Mama" "monkey" "man" etc... "ball" "bubble" "bus". I find he can come close to other sounds when given a word that starts with a sound he is good at. We'll keep working with him and see where it leads.
I sincerely hope this language jump for him continues and is the start of a new chapter for him. IEP time is quickly approaching and we will be making a decision on whether to send Ayden to kindergarten or hold him in the ECSE classroom for another year. It sure would be nice to have a little bit of language under his belt before we make that decision this May.