Monday, January 14, 2008

Phoneme Touch and Say

Right, it's been so long since I've written anything here, I'm a bit embarrassed. In my defense, I've been working quite a lot, and I made a new years resolution to spend more time with my children and less on the computer. Which I'm being quite good about sticking to. Anyway, Felecia pointed out to me that two months with no posts is quite poor really - so here's one for you.

Alfie learned a new sign this week. 'My turn' - or 'me'. He's so pleased with himself for learning it that it's meaning has changed to 'Wow look mummy I can do a sign, look! look! look! meeeee!!!!'. He's just so delighted with himself. He realised how useful it was the other night when he was trying to reach the chocolates - suddenly he had a brainwave and tried the 'my turn' sign - and it worked. Now he's using it all the time. I'll have to try and get a video of it because he's really cute.

Also, we have just started working with speech pathologist Jill Hicks. Mat and I are really excited about this. She uses a sign system to help show children, visually, how sounds are made, and how they are different from each other (well, there's more to it than that - but that's my quick summary). It's called Phoneme Touch and Say - and has emerged from her professional practice and her experience of having a daughter who has Down syndrome herself.

To start with we are working on four sounds. Da, Ma, Oh, Eee. For Daddy, Mummy, NOah and AlfiE. I'm making a picture book with photo's of each of us, and I'm going to hold it up and say the sound very clearly, and then show him the sign for the sound while I say it. The plan is to do it lots of times so he can clearly see that there are different sounds in these words. Obviously, we'll have to do it many times. I'll post up here how it's going.

Also, Jill pointed out something really useful. She made a quick video of me chatting with Alfie and noticed that I ask him chatty questions quite a lot - for example 'would you like some more?' 'how about we put it this way up?' 'would you like the cow?'. Instead of doing this, I'm going to try and say shorter, or one word, sentences - 'more' 'this way' 'cow'. The aim of this is to build up Alfie's vocabulary - give him the meanings of lots of words very clearly rather than lots of extra information that doesn't really matter to him. I'm really pleased with this - it makes perfect sense and I wouldn't have thought to do it myself.

I really think that clear speech is the key to giving Alfie confidence and independence as he grows up. So we are starting now.


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you posted :) I've really missed you blog (as you can tell from me harassing you this morning LOL).

I've talked to Jill before and the Phoneme Touch and Say does sound very interesting. Cannot wait to see how it goes. I've gotten lazy in signing to Eric lately - I'll have to start steping it up again!

Felecia :)

Shelley said...

Hannah's EI has been doing something similar - we use an Australian phonics called Ants in the Apple but it also has a cue sign for each sound. I think it will be really helpful to show Hannah differences when words sound quite similar and also to help her clarify her speech. Good luck with it.