Language Acquistion

My little dragon & a mythological creature.

As I believe I may have mentioned (10 or 12 or  1300 times), my son has a speech delay. He has hideous articulation and has trouble coming up with words despite his full language comprehension. In fact, he acts much like a child for whom English is his second or third language when he tries to talk — instead of English being his first (and only) language. You can literally see the wheels spinning as he tries to come up with a word. It’s the exact same way I look when I try to speak French.

The result of this language delay is that we now celebrate all sorts of speech that most parents view with dismay. Our kid can whine, scream, screech or beg and as long as there’s an intelligible word in it, we’re happy. (However, most the time there are no words in these behaviors and they are generally discouraged as much as possible. Whining like a puppy is only cute the very first time it happens.) For example, this summer we left a restaurant before our child wanted to. As we walked through the parking lot our child screamed “NO!” My husband and I both at the same moment responded with “Good job!” The people around us looked at us as if we were insane. But normally Castle would have just screamed. That time he’d said a word!

Since then, we’ve moved onto phrases that Castle has created himself (as opposed to scripted phrases he’s just memorized.) He has now taken the initiative to combine words on his own, not just mimic phrases we use or have taught him. This is very exciting, but some of those phrases are downright rude. Last night he demanded that “Mama come play NOW.” And we were so excited. Not only did he say a new word that he had not yet articulated before (now), he had incorporated it into a phrase. Correctly. Yes, it was bossy. Yes, it was rude. (And yes, it was typical of a three year old.) But it was such a great step in language acquisition that it was hard to have a little talk about asking nicely. We still had it though.

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