After a number of evaluations and a ton of paperwork, Emily began her weekly speech therapy in mid-January. I really didn't know what to expect, let alone understand how someone has the ability to make a mute person talk. After the last five weeks, however, I've learned that there are miracle performing angels walking amongst us. They are called therapists. Emily is not only talking but also making eye contact. The changes are nothing short of amazing. Thank you Ms. Shelly!
We have gotten into a nice little routine, Emily and I, on speech therapy days. When its time to leave, I tell her its time to go and see Ms. Shelly. For the past two weeks, she has clapped her hands and said, "Shelly!" in her funny high pitched voice. She even babbles at the various horses and cows that we pass on the way. Once at the office, there are toys she likes to play with, although she does get really mad if, in her opinion, Ms. Shelly is taking to long getting everything started. (And to Emily, 2 seconds is too long).
At their first meeting, Ms. Shelly agreed with the other assessments that Emily is really very focused on visual things. She also noted that she's a very fast learner, so fast, that in the ensuing weeks its been hard to "trick" Emily into talking. Ms. Shelly won her over, however, with her bubble machines. One looks like Nemo, the other is Buzz from Toy Story. They are automated, and when Emily would say more or bubble, the machine "magically" started working. She was jumping up and down, totally beaming, and she learned to say "BUBBLE!!!" with much enthusiasm. I've been out of breath blowing bubbles ever since...not a problem since the bubbles also function to clean up the kitchen floor. :)
In the following weeks, she has learned a number of new words including again, all done, I like, cars, blast-off, barn, open, up, and down. She has also started repeating some of the words I've been saying to her all along, like ice-cream and strawberry, and repeating the animal sounds from her farm books. While this list might not seem totally impressive to some, for us it represents the fact that Emily's spoken language vocabulary has nearly doubled in the span of a month. I really think its a good sign for the future; she has the ability to communicate and she will. All in good time.