Friday, January 29, 2010

Speech, Language, and Listening

Before Noah got his cochlear implant, we never had any question about his language acquisition. He just didn't have any. He understood that he could use his voice for communication thanks to our first awesome AV therapist and even tried to do that but that whole pesky concept of there being more than one sound in the English language was a bit beyond his abilities at that point.

After Noah's CI he took off amazingly, at least in terms of vocabulary. By the end of that first summer he was putting two words together and had a larger vocabulary than we could keep track of. However, while Noah is very good at putting words together to say what HE wants to say, answering questions/having a conversation with someone else is a bit more difficult. Whether that's because of his dual sensory loss, his preemie brain, or because we all became so enamored with the kid who went from no language to 100 word vocabulary in less than 2 months that we forgot to push the listening, I'll never know. I do know that his current AV therapist doesn't consider him to follow a "normal" pattern in his speech & language development (although she's refrained from labeling this a bad thing).

So here we are today. We recently had a progress report from AV therapy, and this is what was listed under "current skills and progress":

Auditory feedback/speech babble: Sentence level feedback in excellent. We are continuing to work on prosity as we work toward a more natural sounding speech pattern. Noah's speech is often at a low volume with limited variation in pitch. Given Noah's limited vision, his affect is less animated making inflection even more important for his communication partners, particularly peers.

Auditory discrimination/memory: Noah uses his strong internalized sense of language when enountering auditory memory tasks [if you give him a list he makes a story out of it to remember the items - super cute!] . Tasks presented as lists or series are more difficult to retrieve.

Auditory comprehension: While the bulk of Noah's vocabulary is acquired incidentally, descriptors require more deliberate attention, given visual impairment. Noah is still working to attend to and comprehend language that he overhears and context that is implied.

Expressive Skills: Noah has a mature vocabulary, though his use of syntax is less developed. Noah can initiate topics, but has more difficulty maintaining a topic selected by a communication partner, particularly a peer. Noah can provide information with details, though he does not yet give a cohesive narrative.

So there you have it. Not too bad for less than 3 years of listening, but still a ways to go before we have an effective communicator on our hands.


leah said...

I love the fact that he makes up a story to remember list items- what a smart kid! I think I'm going to borrow that technique next time I need to remember things...

Anne, Eliza Grace's mom said...

I too am way beyond amazed that Noah makes up stories to remember list items! And he is cute to boot!