My younger daughter Anjana is two years and three months old. Compared to my elder daughter Santoshi, who will soon turn six, Anjana is way behind in talking.
I have been reading many websites and books on whether Anjana was on track with her speech development or lagging behind. Her vocabulary was limited, pronunciation needed more clarity and she was not able to make short, two-word sentences like “give ball”, “want food”, etc. The only sentence she could make was “mom, come”. Ironically, the fear of knowing that she may have some difficulties that are hindering her development made me put off the appointment with her paediatrician, instead of scheduling the appointment at the earliest.
Somehow, I mustered courage to face whatever it may be that the doctor might say about her, I really wanted to know the doctor’s opinion. The fact that she seemed puny was another concern which I wanted to discuss with the doctor.
We live just about three kilometres (approximately two miles) from the hospital and decided to take public transportation (read walk for 300 metres, use public transport for 2 kilometres and walk the remaining 700 metres to the hospital). And, this was a trip to remember because it was just me and Anjana and we decided to ditch the diaper for this trip. Too risky, but then, I was feeling adventurous.
An uneventful trip to the hospital where we were greeted with long queues at the cash counter (thanks to demonetisation). Anjana was running around while I waited for my turn to pay the doctor’s fee. It took two hours at the hospital, during which time, Anjana used the hospital toilet (well-maintained, thankfully) three times.
Anjana’s doctor asked me about Santoshi and examined Anjana. She did not find anything abnormal, so she referred us to their in-house speech therapist. The speech therapist asked me to follow a two-pronged approach:
- To teach her more words by using flash cards of everyday objects (fruits, vegetables, animals, birds, etc.) and read each word out loud and asking her to repeat each of those words.
- To improve her pronunciation of certain sounds like k, g, s,l, etc.
After trying this for a month, we need to meet the speech therapist again to reevaluate if she needs to undergo speech therapy at the hospital or not.
Anjana fell asleep on the way home and I was not willing to buy flash cards when I gladly make with whatever I have. I already had about 70 to 75 business cards of mine which became useless when I got promoted more than two years back. The cards were a little smaller than the flash cards available outside, but they will do.
I downloaded stock images of common animals, birds, fruits, vegetables, vehicles, food items, colours, shapes and a few other pictures which would enable her to make short sentences – sleeping (individual images of a sleeping boy, a sleeping girl, a sleeping baby, a sleeping dog, a sleeping cat) and similarly for eating, drinking, bathing.
My business card measured 2 inches by 3.3 inches. So, all these images were resized to these dimensions. Most of them fit the rectangular shape but obviously some circular or square things didn’t – like a ball or broccoli or a slice of bread. Never mind, because they were big enough for her to see and figure out. After gluing the pics to the business cards, we started playing with them.
Here is a picture of a few cards. Please note that I have used stock images for the limited purpose of teaching words to Anjana. I do not own the images on the cards.
I would show the card, speak the word aloud. Then, Santoshi would repeat after me. I would speak it aloud again for Anjana which she would repeat. When it comes to cards which have the action words (eating, sleeping, etc.), I would show the card to Anjana and wait for her to say something. Most times, she would make two-word sentences “Dog bubbles” or “Boy pizza” instead of “Dog bath” and “boy eat pizza”. She does miss the action word bath and eat but I think she needs more time.
We started this by the start of December 2016. It has been seven days and I should say there is considerable progress despite the fact that she pronounces ‘rabbit’ as “Babbi” and ‘balloon’ as Bamoo”. She remembers most of the words and recognises many more objects/ birds/ animals than before.
This is the list of images that I have been using. Criteria for picking these words – relevance (for pre-school aged kids), easy to recognise and easy to pronounce.
- Brinjal (eggplant)
- Ice cream
- Balloon (Hot air balloon)
- Cycle (Bicycle)
- Plane (Aeroplane)
- Hello Kitty
Will make another post in about a month from now if I see any progress with Anjana’s speech development.
Thanks for reading my post!