Back to the subject of Clare's speech therapy and my dilemma over whether to continue or not. I cannot gush enough about Clare's speech therapist, and I hate to let that go (and am afraid that once we are off Judy's schedule, it will be hard to get back on - she is in high demand). Clare's progress has been amazing after about six months of working with Judy. And Judy keeps telling me that we should see some "real improvement" once Clare has her tongue released. Real improvement?? Shawn and I marvel over the improvement already! But then it comes down to the question of which is more of a disservice to Clare - discontinuing speech or having her endure one really long day each week. (And before anyone offers this suggestion, it was almost impossible to find a time that worked for both us and Judy, so switching her speech to a different day or time is not an option right now.)
As I have said over and over, Clare's vocabulary has exploded, she now uses verbs and makes complete sentences, and is expanding her food repertoire (becoming stronger from the bite and blow toys Clare "exercises" with daily and tips from Judy on ways to help Clare eat better, both in diet and technique). One of the things that Judy has been working very hard with Clare on is her colors. Clare understands what colors are and can name them, but she cannot identify which color is which. We have played color games, looked at books, done all kinds of things for a long time now, but Clare still would only get the color right by chance. Until Judy introduced Clare to the signs for colors. When Judy holds up a banana and asks Clare what color it is, Clare cannot tell her. When Judy makes the sign for "yellow" while asking Clare, Clare immediately says "yellow." I don't know what it is about the signs, but Clare has an easier time identifying the sign with the name of the color. Or maybe she needs two visuals to make the connection? (The sign and the color itself.) I don't know why it works, but it does. So we are learning the signs for the basic colors - yellow, red, blue, green, orange, pink, and purple. Judy has also been using this technique to cue Clare in using verb phrases as well (such as "can I have," "it is not"). Once Clare has mastered identifying colors with the sign cues, hopefully she will be able to do it without the cues as well. It is an interesting technique, and one that seems to be working very well with Clare. I know not to expect Clare to be able to do everything on the same time table as Jamie, but she will be four in a couple weeks and cannot identify any letters, numbers, shapes, etc. This is one of the areas where I feel her work with Judy is helping so much. Clare loves to play with Judy and eagerly looks forward to their visits, so I am really torn as to what is the right thing to do for Clare's sake.