She’s working on it. I swear she’s gotta be about the only kid in the history of this planet whose parents voluntarily hand her a horn multiple times a day and crow, “More! Louder! Again!” and clap and hug and dance around their child’s joyful noise. You may remember a couple of months ago, when I posted the last update on how the Quail is doing developmentally. The illustrious vocal guru, Sara Rosenfeld Johnson had declared that the Quail had strengthened up 3 of the 4 necessary componants for speech but was sorely lacking in one main area- volitional airflow. Those that see the Quail regularly would probably beg to differ. She’s not quiet. No ma’am. But the sounds she routinely vocalizes are sounds that she can open her mouth and let fly. When she has to manipulate the muscles in her mouth in a specific pattern AND force air out on purpose- we’re met with a quiet bird. This has become even more apparant as we try to track the actual words she routinely says clearly. A year ago I had made this list and when I shared it with Sara she was pretty concerned at the exponential rate that her signing was outpacing her saying. We had worked hard and her strength was now good. It’s that darn volitional airflow. What is volitional airflow? The simplest example is this, bubbles. Can you blow them? Either chewing gum or soap bubbles? The Quail can’t. On an everyday example, what this means for her is that when she is able to actually speak a word clearly and work through the difficulty of motor planning by trying again and again, it comes out in a whisper. A tiny, tiny breath of a word. You have to be holding her and listening for it or you would miss it.
So to help with this we look for fun activities that she has to learn to blow to do. Things where she has to round her lips and that she’ll then get a response with her tiny, soft breath. A few weeks ago she managed to make a few bubbles. We learned that the smaller wand openings are easier because they require less air for the bubble to form. Right now, it’s on accident that the bubble forms. It’s on her exhale if the wand is still there that a tiny little pearl of air will deligtedly make it’s way in front of her.
And now this horn you see above. It’s a pre-heirarchy horn. It takes very little air to make a toot. Which shows what a challenge this is for our girl. Even the soft exhale isn’t enough to make a sound. But in the last two weeks, she’s gotten it, this tiny, soft TWEET! when she’s super excited and riled up and we hand her the horn. It’s not the order we were supposed to go in. We followed the packet directions and got stuck for weeks on getting a specific “heh” sound out of her. She says the word, but doesn’t breathe it. So we backed up and clapped and cheered when the “heh” sound naturally came out during her bounce-tastic Rody rides. And just started handing her the horn whenever she was riled up.
Tweet-Tweet!!!!! It’s a birthday party daily here folks! Bring your party horn and join in!