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Sounds are important

When I started to work with my son along with the therapist after his Autism diagnosis, he used to give sweet smiles but not a single word or a sound. If I made him to say a word by showing objects/pictures, he showed strong resistance or irritation and also avoided me or ran out of that place.

After consistent effort he started to respond to me with little sounds. Initially I took some 10 to 15 words which I thought are day to day important words like Water, Toilet, Bye Bye, some of his favorite food items and outing place like park.

I focused on these words and stressed these words wherever there was a need for those words, though I did not expect him to immediately say it after me.

After few months of sincere training he got the “Ba” sound for Bye-Bye. In the beginning even that single sound was not so consistent.

At this stage I used to sing rhymes for him. One song was “Johnny Johnny”. One day when I paused at the end he filled it with the sound “Ha Ha Ha”. This triggered me to focus on a single syllable sounds from the rhymes

Sheep says “baa baa”
Pig says “wee wee” etc.
Slowly he got it too.Along with the single syllable sounds, I focused on the original list of words that I took.Slowly he got some words from that list. For Toilet, he said as “Toiyee” and for water it was “Watayee”.

Whenever he said Toiyee and Wattayee, I gave him the correct pronunciation gently like Toilet, Water, etc. but left it without insisting him to repeat.  Earlier when I insisted him to repeat the right sound for the word, his only expression was irritation. And sometimes he gave up without even trying to make a sound.  So whenever he attempted to make sounds for the word, I gave him the right pronunciation for those words. Here is how a simple conversation happens.
My son: Wattayee
Myself: “Water” 

Though it took a little time for my son in the beginning to get the correct pronunciation, slowly time taken by him narrowed and now he can immediately echo a new word. Also it is not only word, he repeats/echoes even 3 to 4 new words in the sentence form.

I want to mention one more thing, in the beginning when he attempted to say words like Ice cream, Amma, Tiger, Zebra he added “ya” sound at the end of the word like Iceya, Annaya, Taya, Zeeya.  This was when he attempted to verbalize at the age of 5 and a half. And it took quiet a long time to correct himself as Tiger instead of Taya.

Now he is 9 years old, recently he used a word “asiya” which he learnt through TV ads. Though I struggled to understand him in the beginning, I later watched the commercial and understood he was trying to pronounce “Ashirwad” and I corrected him, whenever he said that word.  Within a month he corrected himself to Ashirwad. 

Since I am talking about sounds, I want to share one another difficulty crossed by my son. That is in the initial stages he struggled to get sounds like “Ka”, “Fa”, “Ra”.  For “Ka” sound in “Cow” he said “Thow” and for “Go” he said "Tho".

And he never attempted to say a word with the sound “F” or “Fa” sound like fish and finished etc.

For “RA” sound he replaced with “La” sound, for example instead of “Doctor” he said “Doctol”.

So I took some 10 to 20 words with “Ka” and a separate list for FA and Ra sounds. I used to read the words daily for him. Now he got “Ka” and “Fa” sounds and also “Ra” sounds. But in few words he still uses “La” sound instead of “Ra” sound like “callant” instead of “current”. But he got Rat, Rabbit, Doctor etc.
Hope he will get “current” also soon.

So I am really fascinated by the sounds made by my son. This gives me an opportunity to correct him and also to add a new vocabulary to his database. If I can summarize, Sounds are the first step to a full speech. The parents can learn to use it wisely.

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