T (almost 9 months!) had a blast at speech therapy today! We played a game where we rolled a ball back and forth – I sat with T and we rolled the ball to his speech therapist, who rolled it back to us. After we received the ball, we’d tap on it (well, I tapped; T pounded!) while saying “ba-ba-BALL!” and then we’d roll it the speech therapist, emphasizing the word “ROLL!” T got lots of practice hearing the contrast between the vowels “ahhh” and “ohhh,” and he also got to practice turn-taking by having to wait for the ball to come back to him. T is usually pretty patient about turn-taking, but he was SO EXCITED about the big red ball that he kept trying to race across the room to get the ball back. So, this was good practice for him!
And, something exciting happened! We’ve been working hard for the past few weeks on drawing T’s attention to the sound “shhhh.” For example, today at speech therapy, we were playing with a toy piano that plays a song when you push a button; when the song stopped, we’d say “SHHHHH!!! It’s quiet!! the music stopped!” and we would really emphasize the “SHHH” sound with gestures. We’ve been doing this sort of thing for a few weeks now, with music, and by pairing the “shhhh” sound with hiding during peekaboo. And today, for the first time, T produced the “shhh” sound! When the music on the toy stopped, T said “shhh.” We were all really excited – “shhh” is one of the more difficult Ling sounds to produce, since it requires careful mouth positioning, and it’s a bit difficult to hear, since it’s a relatively high-frequency sound that is also sort of soft. T’s speech therapist was excited, and said that all of our peekaboo practice was paying off. I didn’t mention that I’ve been privately working on “shhhh” sounds with T at home by singing and dancing to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” – sometimes, T will start grinning at me when I sing “SHHHHHHHake it off” to him 🙂 (Go ahead and judge my taste in music – in the words of T-Swift – “haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate!”)