Friday, September 27, 2013

Teaching Speech

The Lightning Kid neared his second birthday, and was showing many signs of the ‘Terrible Twos’: tantrums when he didn’t get his way, mostly. The King and Queen knew it was time to engage some help in teaching him to speak. Yet they knew it was important to find the right person and the right method of helping, and this took a lot of time and effort on the Queen’s part.

Many children with the same condition as the Lightning Kid used a method where the idea of talking as a pair was emphasized. While this method was popular and highly touted, the Queen’s research seemed to show it might not be a good fit for the Lightning Kid; he was showing a lot of willingness to communicate, but the sounds he would use for different meanings weren’t that consistent, and he frankly needed to learn how to make more varied sounds.

In the meantime, the Queen found another methodology that showed more promise - it would use the sense of touch to help teach a child how to physically produce certain sounds. Besides pure methodology, the Royal Family wanted someone who could fit their help into the family’s lifestyle and schedule. In helping the young prince to learn to crawl then walk, starting early yet only doing a little at a time had really paid off, and they hoped to use a similar approach with speech. Finding someone nearby, with the right options for both methodology and schedule was not easy. They did find, an option for a similar methodology where hand cues and signals were used not to communicate meaning, but rather how the sound was formed by the mouth and other parts of the body. Moreover, the Lightning Kid really seemed to like the healer they selected and that would make a big difference in terms of getting him to do the work to learn.

The healer came to the castle with bags and bags of toys, but the Lightning Kid was not allowed to play with any before saying a word to identify and acquire it - the pronunciation wasn’t that important, it was the effort that counted. The King and Queen knew that this would be a long road, and the going would be slow, but fairly soon, they started hearing ‘HIIIIIIII!” and “BYYYYYE” more consistently (and in the right context), and the Lightning Kid could tell you how old he was going to be with fairly good pronunciation.