a voice within
Signing was proving incredible for Isaac.
Limiting his frustration by being able to basic key word sign,
For many things,
And his vocabulary building day by day.
But I could see how he tried to talk,
That he had a voice within,
Trying to get out,
But he just didn’t know how.
And yet here we were,
Still in the vicious cycle of the system,
Which even saw speech therapy,
Simply trying to accommodate for his disability,
For voiceless communication,
Via aides and alternatives,
As opposed to being equipped with skills to teach my baby how to talk,
When there was every possibility that he could learn.
And I just knew he was desperate to,
Just as I was to hear him,
Break past nah and mamma,
To be able to tell me all that he is thinking.
Like the approach to all his movement thus far,
To learn speech,
To be taught like any other muscles to work,
Become part of his body image.
Someone out there is doing this.
And sure enough,
Prompt Speech Therapy entered our lives.
And from the moment we met our therapist,
Who reiterated all my ponderings,
Explained the progression of speech,
Which stage Isaac had reached,
I felt relief for following my gut,
Anger that the main services didn’t know about this,
Frustrated that so many kids missed out on this knowledge because of how the typical approach to learning stood.
And sad because again it took us going against the system,
To achieve what should be common practice.
But my focus has to be Isaac,
And with fierce mothers intuition,
We dive right in.
He has good phonation (breath out),
And he has voice (sound),
So now we teach him how to use his jaw with lips –
For lip control.
And jaw with tongue – for tongue control.
Limiting the use of his whole face or the tongue as one large muscle to create sound,
Which makes the movements too big,
And doesn’t allow for refined movement,
Refined sound –
Which is talking.
Just as my gut had told me,
Just like all his learned movement thus far –
Reduce the effort,
Teach him he has options.
Break away from the bias of undesirable movement patterns,
To give him fine control over his movements.
And so I begin my apprenticeship,
As does Isaac,
In where the mouth is positioned for the beginning,
What part of the mouth structure creates which sound,
How intricate the muscles are,
How coordinated everything needs to be to generate speech,
And yet how easily we take it all for granted.
It won’t be easy by any means,
It will be a long road ahead.
But emerging from my frustration,
At what we were facing until now,
And seeing the real possibilities of him talking,
I’ll do whatever it takes.
As will Isaac,
With a sparkle in his eyes,
Concentration all over his face,
There is no looking back.
And he might start talking in sentences.
He may just even sing.