In. It's a short word. A word that most of us would not have any issue saying at all. Go ahead, try it. In. Say it slowly and notice the motions that your mouth and tongue go through to say the word. You start with a slightly open mouth with your lips retracted. You end with the tip of your tongue behind your top teeth. For most of us, this is something that is done seemingly without much thought. We open our mouths, and out it comes. For a kid with Apraxia though, it's not that easy. There is a lot of motor planning involved whenever we speak, even for a simple word like "in".
Today Luke said in for the first time. Even more exciting than that? He said it to boss Cody into doing what he wanted him to do =) Luke is taking more and more risks when it comes to speaking. He's becoming more willing to communicate with us through speech, even if it means we might not always understand him. When we met with the developmental pediatrician in August, one of the things he asked me was what percentage of Luke's speech do I understand. I felt uncomfortable answering that question, as at the time, I understood a high percentage of what he said. But I felt that was deceiving, because Luke just didn't say much. Sure, I understood a good 90% or more of what he said, but he said so little. My feeling is that he knew he couldn't get the words out correctly, and so instead of trying to communicate with us and fail, he chose to just not say anything that he wasn't confident about.
Now, Luke is constantly trying new words. There are many times where I don't have a clue what he's saying, but I do my best to not let it make him feel bad. I ask him to show me what he's talking about a lot. Or I'll play it off as well as I can. The last thing I want to do is hurt his confidence in talking, so I do what I can to either understand him, or ease the situation of not understanding him.
Tonight I watched him try to say Rosco (our dog's name). He sat on the floor next to Rosco, patted his head, and said "hi....". It didn't come out sounding anything like Rosco. And as I watched Luke talking, it was obvious that he was doing a lot of groping and struggling to find the right sounds. But he tried, and I was so proud of him for that.