We had our last home visit on Monday. I thought it was 6 session course but it is infact a 5. No idea what led me tho think this as they did always say 5 sessions. Tiredness!
The speech therapist was due at 9.15am. I thought it would be a good idea to try & fit in a food shop delivery before she arrived. It wasn’t one of my best ideas. It turned up 15 minutes before she was due & Freddie had a total meltdown at the sound of the carrier bags. So 9.15 when the therapist did arrived she was greeted by a very upset Freddie, a kitchen floor covered in food & me in a abit of a flap! Not the best start to the session but it actually turned out to be my favourite out of them all.
This weeks was going to be messy play(I’m sure i’m not alone when i say I dislike messy play alot!)
We started with a plastic container & the therapist poured in some rice for Freddie to have a play with. Then she showed me different ways to keep Freddie’s attention & encourage communication through words & songs & different ways in which we could play with the rice –
We pretended when the rice was being poured into the container & was making a loud noise that it was raining, so we could sing the ‘it’s raining, it’s pouring’ song or any other songs about rain and some of the rice was poured on to Freddie’s hand to pretend it was raining on him.
We picked up the container and shook it to make different sounds, when we shook it hard we told Freddie that it was a loud noise(whilst emphasising the word LOUD in a big voice) & then we did it gently whilst telling Freddie it’s a quiet noise (whilst emphasising the word quiet in a small voice)
This activity can be repeated with different household foods – pasta, jelly, spaghetti, cereals, squirty cream, custard. Glitter can be added to make it sparkle & eye catching or add scents such as cinnamon or lemon juice. The food can be cooked to change the texture or the temperatures can be changed.
Next was gloop play –
We got a container & poured in some cornflour & allowed Freddie to touch the powder. We sprinkled some on his hand & pretended it was snowing. Next we added water to make the powder turn into gloop. We drizzled some over Freddie’s hands & allowed him to explore the texture. Nice & messy!
The next part of the session was focused on books.
Freddie has a lot of books but i’ve never known what to do with them…sounds silly but Freddie has no interest in them & would never sit still or pay any interest in a story.
2 books were shown to Freddie & we allowed him to touch which ever booked he would like to look at. They were basic baby books with bright pictures. The page was opened & Freddie was allowed to explore. If he touched a picture it was named to him, if he didn’t touch anything we pointed different ones out to him – duck, pig, cow, spider – with the spider the ‘incy wincy spinder’ song was sung.
It was all about trying to follow his lead to see what interested him & trying to keep it as fun as we could with words & songs.
The therapist told me that the way I read books to Freddie depends on how much language he understands. So reading all the words would be pointless as Freddie wouldn’t understand. So instead try naming the pictures to help him understand basic language, make the animal noises to help him associate them, don’t follow the structure of the book – if Freddie bats the page over read that page instead, sing songs about the pages if it holds his attention more, try and have books with textures in, make the books colourful & make actions to go with your words.
Just go with what ever words, songs or actions pop into your head.
I was very apprehensive about these home visits before they began. We had received very little help from the speech & language therapists before so I really wasn’t expecting much from them. But I have enjoyed them all so much & it has given me so many great ideas on how I can encourage communication with Freddie & learn to communicate without him speaking.
As a parent it can be terribly hard to deal with a child who doesn’t speak. In some ways it’s similar to having a newborn baby and they cry & you are trying to work out if they want. Is it milk or a nappy change? is it wind or are they tired? Are they teething or poorly or do they just want a cuddle? It becomes a bit like that but with a newborn they are nice and small & you don’t get whacked in the face by a big strong 2 year old whilst your trying to see if they do just want a cuddle but infact they don’t & what they actually want is feeding! It frustrating both for the parent and the child.
It’s VERY hard and support isn’t easy to come by. From talking to other parents it would seem we are lucky to be receiving these home visits and i’m hoping they will help us in some way in gaining some understanding of Freddie & hopefully anybody reading this may be able to take some ideas from the posts & use them to.
You can find the rest of the sessions here –