Friday, April 6, 2012


After I could forsee Matthew walking, and especially now that he is, I'm focusing my 'Matthew worry' on his talking.  He seemed to pick up a few words and sounds in the last few months, but lately he hasn't been using them much at all.  Even our early developmental specialist is thinking that Matthew likely won't be talking before his 3rd birthday. 

I try not to freak out.  I remember that typical kids usually regress a bit in their verbal skills when they are learning to walk.  Matthew is ALL about walking right now, but I still worry. 

Matthew does want to communicate and he seems to understand a lot of what we say to him. And though he's not talking, Matthew seems to be picking up sign language pretty well.  Up to this point, I've been relying on my best friend (who is an ASL interpreter) to teach me the signs that I feel like Matthew will use.  I am so thankful to her, but I feel a bit guilty relying so heavily on her (though she's always more than happy to teach me). So, I started looking for a sign language boot camp for parents.  I had very little luck finding that kind of instruction, but I did find 2 wonderful resources. 

First, when Matthew was born, he had hearing loss in his left ear.  So, we were referred to the school district for language development.  We had a wonderful therapist that worked with us on Matthew's language acquisition until Matthew's hearing tested normal when he was 6 months. I contacted that therapist to see if she knew of any classes, and she very sweetly offered to come teach us a dozen or so new signs as Matthew needed them. She is too fantastic.

And I also found a program through the state of Texas that specializes in teaching sign language to parents of deaf children or those hard of hearing.  The instructors are ASL interpreting students who are in high level classes, who instruct one on one sessions weekly over video conference.  When I contacted them to see if they could refer me to a boot camp or class, I was told that when they have openings, they would love to serve families like ours as well. And they had openings! So, I started sign language class last night.

Between these 2 new resources and my best friend, I feel like I am doing what I can to help Matthew communicate.  I do pray in time that Matthew will master the spoken word.  But until he does, I want to make sure to give him all of the opportunities in the world to tell us his wants/needs.

Matthew signing.


  1. I've enjoyed your column for a long time, and as a mother of a premie, have empathized with some of the challenges you all face with medical issues.

    For all 4 of our kids (none with hearing loss), we have used a program called "Signing Time" which has videos, board books, etc. and has been great for teaching them sign language at age appropriate levels. Even our oldest will sometimes revert to signs when she's rushing to express herself. Hope this helps.

  2. That was just awesome. I was sitting in anticipation of him doing the signs. He's so sweet and adorable Katie. I love watching your family grow on your blog! Happy Easter! He is risen!