I remember the day well that I learned how far behind Cooper was in his receptive understanding. Now, I always knew his spoken language was extremely delayed but I never really knew that his understanding was behind as well. I guess I always thought they went together. How could his understanding be normal when his language was at that of a 6 month old. Well, I was wrong for the 1 billionth time in my life. Some kids are behind in both areas and some kids in just one area.
The day I learned that Cooper’s understanding was behind was the day I went a little crazy…in a good way. He was a little over 2 1/2 years old and had just got tubes in his ears. Someone very close to us pointed out all of Cooper’s weaknesses in a not so nice manner. First, I cried for 2 days. Then I got busy. I sat down and made lists. Lists of goals. Lists of what Cooper could do and what he couldn’t do. And finally a list of what were we going to accomplish. (On a funny note, at one point Cooper took my lists and crumpled them up. I guess he didn’t agree! Little stinker.)
I visited the CDC’s website for a list of milestones. This was both crushing and inspirational. Remember, I am a fixer. I knew that I couldn’t really tackle the language milestones because Cooper still didn’t care about language but I could do the physical/movement and the cognitive. I wrote down the following from the CDC’s website:
- Kicks a ball
- Climbs up and down furniture with no help
- Walks up and down stairs holding on
- Finds things when hidden under covers
- Begins to sort shapes and colors
- Builds towers
- Follows 2 step instructions
And then I wrote down a few of my own:
- Point to all of the main body parts
- Point to colors
- Point to an assortment of different pictures/animals/vehicles/etc.
- Will sit down and do puzzles/color/flashcards
- Wash hands–move step stool to the sink
- Hold utensils
Some of these things Cooper could already do. Like run. That kid can run like the wind. And he can build towers and find things but Cooper seriously lacks in the desire to do these things. This mama can work on motivation and desire with the best of ’em! So pick one or two and start working on them. Don’t get caught up in ALL of the things your child can’t do.
I went to the store and spent a crap-load of money on flashcards, Melissa and Doug puzzles, games, etc. At first Cooper was resistant to learning. We started by putting him in his booster seat for 10-20 minute periods. That went really well. Then we incorporated the learning in other areas of the house.
Here are some pics of Coop’s learning style:
We own pretty much every Melissa and Doug puzzle ever made. Cooper LOVES the sounds they make and also the pieces are easy to pick up. We have animals, vehicles, colors, trains, etc. They are worth every penny. I will name the puzzle piece and he will grab it and put it on the board. Great for hand coordination.
Cooper LOVES flashcards. This sounds crazy, right? A 2-year-old with no language that can’t sit still. Bizarre. But thank GOD anyways. I found a set of flashcards that has big pictures at a store with teaching supplies. I usually lay 4-6 out in a row and have him identify the picture. He needs to point to it, pick it up and give it to me. A really good thing to do with kiddos with language delay is to ‘extend’ the activity. So instead of just pointing add-on other steps. Like putting the flash card in a box. Also, if the object makes the sound we always say that as well and ask for a repeat. And lots and lots of high fives and fist bumps!
I also put flashcards up all over my house. On the fridge, windows, walls, etc. Wherever we are I ask him to point to different objects.
Cooper loves to be read too. More than I can describe. It is one of the only activities he will sit still for. I did some research and found books that say the ‘word’ and not the sound. An example is the ‘Teach Me To Talk’ books. I purchased the books for colors and numbers.
We spend a lot of time playing with toys that require good hand coordination. Cooper loves this Piggy Bank because it makes lots of noise. We spend a lot of time putting the coins in and also working on the colors of the coins. Next we will work on sorting the colors.
If you don’t have fridge magnets that make noise you need to get them ASAP. Cooper loves them. We have one for letters and one for animals. When I am cooking or in the kitchen he plays with them. They are very good for sounds as well as hand coordination. But beware, you will step on these and you will most likely curse and vow to throw them all away. Very dangerous!
What does your child love to do? Mine LOVES trains. Hubs and I attended a class a while back on helping your child learn to talk. They focused on how we as parents don’t really relate to our children. Like, a parent will try to get their child to talk about something that they have no interest in. Pick a topic your kid likes and talk about it. Let them lead what you do. This was a big eye opener for me. Instead of trying to teach Cooper everything pick something he likes. So, I am happy to say that I now practically own stock in Thomas the Train items. I kid but wow…whomever invented it is now a rich, rich person. And could he be any cuter! We set up his trains daily and spend a lot of time talking about them.
We have been working on these activities for 6 months. Not every day but often. I am glad to say that Cooper just turned 3 and can do almost all of these things. Woo Hoo! On the list for 2014…Potty Training and Shapes!