From a few words to whole conversations, thanks to preschool

Social interactions have helped answer how to improve my son's speech

Keara Engle avatar

by Keara Engle |

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Until last year, my 5-year-old son, Cayden, rarely talked. He said a few words here and there, but they were hard to understand and limited to about five to 10 words total.

His struggles with speech stem from his infantile-onset Pompe disease. Children diagnosed with this form of Pompe typically have weakened muscles, even the ones in their mouths that are used to talk and eat.

Luckily, we were able to obtain an iPad to help him communicate. That’s when we really started to hear his voice. Cayden’s iPad was donated by a local company that helps children with disabilities get devices and adaptive equipment to make their everyday lives a little easier.

Although Cayden enjoyed using the iPad to communicate, I think he found it easier and faster just to say what he wanted through speech instead of hitting all of the buttons on the device. Sure enough, Cayden began to talk more and more over the summer. Despite all of his new words, it was still pretty hard to understand what he was saying unless you were around him frequently.

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Because of this, we still relied on his iPad a lot so he could communicate when it was hard for others to understand him. And although he was saying a lot of new words, he wasn’t speaking in sentences much.

More recently, however, Cayden’s speech has blossomed. He can now speak in sentences that range from about five to 10 words, and he can hold a conversation for quite some time. And he’s also getting good at asking questions. Anytime he’s curious about something, he’ll be sure to ask about it until he fully understands.

Further, his speech has gotten even better since he started preschool in February. Almost every day he comes home saying something new. I get to hear him sing all of the songs he’s learned, and he’s also eager to tell me about his day when I pick him up each day from school. I look forward to those moments.

Being around his peers and making friends have definitely helped with his communication. In a school setting, not every kid knows as much as the next kid. They’re able to teach each other new things without realizing it because, in their minds, they’re just having fun with friends.

I look forward to seeing what else he learns in these last few months of preschool. In our area, the kids are off for a few weeks in June and then return to preschool until mid-July, when they have their graduation. My hope is that Cayden can learn even more from his friends before he enters kindergarten this fall!

Note: Pompe Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pompe Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Pompe disease.


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