by Jenna Maddix
ABC…isn’t always as easy as 1, 2, 3.
At the age of five most kids can follow more complex directions and have a decent vocabulary. For my son, Noah, that hasn’t been so easy. He is still learning to talk and follow simple instructions every day.
Noah is able to put together two to three word sentences for certain words he knows how to say but if he can get away with just grunting for what he wants, he will. I make him use his words and I don’t give him what he wants until he does so. This also goes for manners. I’m trying to teach him when you want something, you also use your manners. He attaches “Please” to what he wants…sometimes. Right now, I’m happy with that because at least I see him trying. Every once in a while I get a “Thank you mama” so he’s getting there and I’ll continue to practice with him every day.
Noah still has speech therapy once a week. Both in therapy and school, they practice words and the letters of the alphabet but he doesn’t try to say the letters on his own. It’s usually when prompted to say them from me or his teacher, he’ll try to say the letter. Even though he’ll repeat letters when prompted, there are still certain letters of the alphabet he won’t say or he’ll whisper it once but won’t do it again. It makes me think he does know what they are, he just feels on some of the letters, he can’t say them, or he won’t say it right. Then there are other times I know he knows the letter, but he won’t practice with me, even if I give a lot of praise and encouragement.
The weather finally cooled off and it felt nice to be outdoors, so a few days ago, I took both my kids out for a walk around the neighborhood. My daughter loves every chance she gets on her scooter. Noah enjoys his 3-in-1 trike that I still guide him in as he hasn’t quite figured out what to do with the pedals yet (although, we practice that too). We walked by a business that has a sign right out front and Noah all of a sudden wanted out of his trike. I took him out and he immediately ran towards the business sign. When Noah got to the sign he started pointing at letters on it and telling me what they were! I was shocked and so happy, I started tearing up. I figured if I tried to take a video on my phone, he would stop—he almost always does when I’m trying to capture an awesome Noah moment, but he kept going! I couldn’t stop smiling. I was so proud of him. I could tell he was proud of himself too.
You can see video with the business sign below:
While I was beyond excited by that moment with the business sign, there are days I wish I could get more from him. Noah took his first school field trip to Space Center Houston, the visitor center for NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). I also used to work at JSC in the Public Affairs Office so because of my history there, I wanted to know all about his visit. What did he think about the big Space Shuttle? Did he touch a moon rock? What did he learn? What part did he enjoy most? I also knew he was going to meet an astronaut during his visit that I had worked with in the past, so I wanted to know what the astronaut talked about and what he thought about meeting an astronaut who had lived in space on the International Space Station. All these questions I knew I wouldn’t get answers to like I wished I could. The best I got to any of my questions was “Yes,” so if I really want to know more about the visit, I’ll have to contact his teacher.
I will keep it up with Noah and practice, practice, practice, whether he responds or not. Everyday Noah comes home from school, I ask questions about his day. I read books to him which he loves and wants to hear the same story at least three times in a row, and I always try to talk to him like a big boy. Doing these things makes me honestly feel he understands much more than he lets on. I also know Noah will get there on his own terms. Just like he was with walking, and learning to feed himself. It may be slow going on this road but he does continue to improve his communication and vocabulary every day and that always give me encouragement and hope for the future.