In April, Ian went for a speech evaluation at CHOA. At 17 months, he was at the 22-24 month age for language perception and the 12-14 month age for language production. He needs to be working on pressure sounds: b, t, d, and p. Pressure sounds are made by closing off your throat. Children with clefts are sometimes unable to make these sounds properly because of the inproper formation of the soft palate and uvula. This is normally corrected during the palate repair, but sometimes that is not enough either because the child's muscles to control the uvula are too weak or the uvula itself is too short. We are hoping that with speech therapy we can remedy the problem without another surgery.
We have since been referred to Babies Can't Wait, a program that offers in-home speech therapy, to see what can be done about the language delay. They will come by June 5 to do an evaluation to determine if Ian qualifies for their program.
I have already seen progress in his pressure sounds just by working with him at home. We have been making the "p" sound at bathtime in the bubbles. (It helps him to see that those types of sounds require air and makes something, like the bubbles, to move.)
He can say:
Jaime (our dog)
Emma (our other dog)
He can sign:
The list has grown a lot since our visit to CHOA in April. (It was maybe 7 words consistently.) I hope we continue to see this kind of progress!