Friday, August 5, 2011

Play To Talk

Karen, Nikko's speech therapist on Thursdays, recommended a book called Play To Talk; A Practical Guide to Help Your Late-Talking Child Join the Conversation by James MacDonald Ph.D. & Pam Stoika Ph.D. It's good reading but slow reading for me. It centers around the Communication Partners strategies (won't list them all here, kind of complex to describe) of playing/communicating/interacting more and talking less so that the child will learn to talk more. I'm almost halfway through the book and do intend to finish it. Examples of what the book reviews is matching Nikko's word output and giving him one more word to build on/build vocabulary; letting Nikko take the lead during play, sometimes take the lead myself, but always match the power; and entering his world of play instead of pushing him to meet MY agenda. Sounds easy, right?

Earlier today, before therapy, I saw Nikko siting on the couch, watching TV and playing with a plastic pterodactyl, making it say "Tweet tweet". Thinking I could easily join him in constructive play, I took a red, plush Angry Bird and sat next to Nikko. I put the Angry Bird next to the pterodactyl and said, "Caw caw!" I tilted my Angry Bird toward Nikko's bird and playfully pecked the bird's beaks. Without even looking at the birds, Nikko picked up my Angry Bird from my hand and tossed it over his shoulder. There I sat, without a bird, and my mind went blank. I think the word "DUH" was written on my forehead. Now what? I seriously didn't know what to do next. Ronin came by and was bugging me about the Angry Bird so I told him to go away so I could play with Nikko. But the moment had passed and Nikko had zero interest in playing with me, so I sheepishly walked away.

When I told Karen about this [lack of] interaction, she applauded me for trying a technique, then told me some ways I could try to engage him in the future. Since I no longer had a bird, I could have tried paying attention to HIS bird. I could have tried to pet the pterodactyl. Or I could have pretended to be a bird myself. She pointed out that the challenge is to react quickly and keep building on the situation even though he won't engage. IT WAS HARD, I won't lie. But the more I keep trying, hopefully the better I'll get at this. Gotta read more of the book!

No comments:

Post a Comment