Paige is almost 21 months and not talking. She was talking before her surgeries (probably only words that I would understand, since I am home with her all of the time), but then after her surgeries, she kind of digressed. I didn't think much of it, until my mother in law told me that she saw a story on the news. Basically the study says that children under the age of two who have had more than one surgery have a high chance of having language delays/problems in their life. The more I thought about this, the more I realized that that's exactly what happened to Paige. She had 3 surgeries, and there was a difference in her language development after the first one even. She often will talk with her mouth closed, and that baffled her pediatrician. She said that she has never seen that before. By 18 months, a toddler should be saying between 10-20 words. Paige was saying none.
Rick and I have tried for several months to get her to talk, including tough love (that one is not fun), but nothing seemed to work. So, with prompting from her pediatrician, a neighbor (who is a speech therapist), and my sister, I contacted a program a month or so ago who is helping us.
Our therapist came this morning, and she is so cute and great with Paige. She plays with Paige, and does activities that will help Paige want to talk. She often gives me tips on what I can do on a regular basis to encourage Paige's speech to develop. Some of those things are sign language, holding an object by my mouth and labeling it (so it draws her attention to my mouth), mimicking her noises (like you do babies), making picture albums for Paige to want to show other people, and much more.
Rick and I had tried some of those things on our own, but didn't feel like she was making as much progress as we were wanting. But, this past week, Paige has learned 3 more signs, and says them without us prompting her to. This is a very important step. She also is trying to say, "moo" and "quack", which count as words.
So today, I am thankful for the Early Intervention program. I know Paige would have started talking on her own at some point, but as a mom, you just worry and want the best for your child. I am so grateful for Paige's cute therapist. She knows what she is doing, and connects well with Paige. I am grateful for communication. Part of toddler-hood that is so hard is the lack of communication, and I am grateful that this will help us a little bit in that journey. I'm grateful for Rick helping Paige. He has been very helpful in getting her to be excited to make noises with her mouth open. I'm grateful for the progress Paige is making.