25 September 2007

At the speech therapist

Today we saw the speech therapist again. That’s the woman who is part of the 22q11-team. We have another speech therapist, at the habilitation unit. It might sound a bit weird, but they have two different roles. Or, rather, they will have, with time. The one at the habilitation unit is sort of following the daily development and the one we saw today is responsible for the anatomical side of things. Doctor’s examinations, potential operations, reports to our own Solveig. I appreciate it’s not easy to keep up with this, I hardly manage to keep up myself.

Anyway. The speech therapist (eg the one who...well, you get the point) brought out a box with lots of things in it. There were little chairs, tables, cars, trains, dolls, cows, horses and so on. Lots of nice little stuff, I must admit. She starts a tape recorder and lets Abbe rummage the box.

– Oool, said Abbe (chair). – Mamma ool (mum’s chair). – Nenning (baby formula, about a little feeding bottle). – Ääshhht (horse). – A-afhh iiil (dad’s car).

And on it went. He did so well. And was so sweet. I melted like ice cream in the blazing sunshine, and grasped most of what he said. The speech therapist understood a bit. But I doubt you would have. You simply need to train a bit on the Abbe-language first. The speech therapist said he seemed to have a good perception of the language. He constructs short sentences, imitates etc. She differentiates between speech and language, we learnt. We talked a bit about what to think about, what to try to avoid and how come he doesn’t have consonants. You know, those M, N and NG-sounds.

I asked optimistically if this is something you can train for. After a slightly too long, pregnant paus, she did that clenched ‘well-how-shall-I-say-this’-look and tilted her head sideways. I’m sure you’ve seen it. And know what it means. No.

It’s about anatomy. Abbe’s palate just doesn’t go all the way back in order to obstruct properly. So the air is streaming where it shouldn’t. And consonants like b, d, g, k and t become impossible. You can’t train for that.

Deep down, I actually knew this all along. I mean, I’ve read up on all this. I consider myself a reasonably intellectual person, who sees things with a clear sight. Even so, I had been hoping there would be a way out. Maybe you can train. But no, instead it makes me so bloody sad.


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