For Wade, freedom of speech comes at a high price. He has had many hours of therapy invested in acquiring the verbal skills other children seem to pluck from the air. We've been working especially hard on teaching him to speak slowly and clearly. Without frequent reminders, he tends to rush through his sentences as though he were speaking in shorthand.
Part of his language disorder is cognitive, i.e. lacking the ability to express complex thoughts in ways that make sense to others. But another part of his language delay stems from a mild muscle weakness in his tongue, lips, and jaw, making proper articulation more difficult to achieve. When you think about what very minute changes your tongue and lips make to produce each separate vowel sound, for example, it is easier to understand how a slight muscle weakness could significantly garble the clarity of your words.
Sometimes I wish someone would invent little speech bubbles that would automatically float up above his head any time he would speak. What an amazing technology that would be for the language impaired! The possibilities would be stunning.*
In the meantime, however, my measuring stick for whether Wade's language is really improving has been to observe how well other people outside of the family can comprehend what he is saying.
So here is a test of your interpretive skills. This is a video clip during one of Wade's speech therapy sessions this week. Can you understand what he reads from the paper in this clip?
*(After the therapeutic usefulness of the Auto-Bubble Speech Clouds had been thoroughly explored, then you could branch out to other realms such as making your own speech bubbles float above someone else's head. Imagine what interesting things I could make Nevin say that he never thought, for example. It would be written ventriloquism.)