M’s P’s and B’s

Those letters, M, P and B, represent some of the first sounds that most children make.  Early on they start with goo and gaa sounds as tiny infants.  But when children start to babble and intentionaly put speach sounds together they are usualy playing with those M, P and B inital sounds.  Words like Mama, Pop, Ba-ba or Baby are often early words children can master.  Ball is another popular word in the toddler set.  Today I watched my 15 month old in her weekly speech tharapy session struggle to figure out how to put her lips together.  She has been seeing Ms.Amy weekly since she turned one.

JK is a happy, social and funny child.  She loves party’s and other social functions, she loves the grocery store and getting to people watch and she loves the bus stop. The bus stop has people watching, the social interaction and seeing the big yellow bus come and go taking the kids to and from school.  But JK is not saying much.  She has master some form of “Hi” and “Yea” and she can say Da-Da but because its one of her few sounds it means a lot more than just her Daddy.  She uses it in diffrent settings with diffrent infelctions to mean diffrent things.  To us we can usualy use her cues and her vocalizations to figure out whats going on, but in terms of communication and speech development she is behind.  After 3 months of weekly sessions with a speech therapist we had a huge break though today.  JK said “-all.”  She was trying to say “Ball”  but could not figure out how her therapist could make the B sound.  I watched Ms.Amy take JK’s little hand and put it over her lips and make various B, P and M sounds and JK would put her hand over her own lips and say “-all.”  To JK’s credit she never got frustrated.  She just kept trying.  Show her a ball and she would smile and say “-all”  she is a smart cookie and knew she had figure out something major.  But she also relized that our version of the word and hers were not the same.  It was heartbreaking to watch.

TD was almost an entire year older when he started speech therapy.  He saw Ms.Karen for 3 and a half years.  Its hard to compare the two any more because while as infants they were both so quiet we started JK’s intervention so much sooner.  I am hoping that is one of the reasons for the differences.  The difficulty with the Bilabial Consonant sound (M,P and B) really is concerning though.  I wish I knew when TD developed those sounds.

Though JK has not been formally diagnosed at this point the therapist has on more than one occasion mentioned Child Apraxia of Speech.  This is a little more involved than just a simple “speech delay.”  CAS is actually a Motor Planning disorder and though it is not usually diagnosed under the age of 2 its sessions like this that remind me that the therapist is trying to quietly let me see that JK’s speech is not just delayed, it is developing outside the normal progression.  I have faith that she will make a lot of progress in the coming year.  And I can see how much progress we have already made in just 3 months.  But it’s frustrating to watch your child struggle with something that comes so naturally to others.

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