Beth doesn't know how to hold a conversation.
I know that may sound strange to some, so let me explain.
Her main vocabulary consists of:
"Now what?" (If you're doing something when she walks in.)
"I knew it." (If you get something to eat or drink or clean up a spill...)
"I don't know." (Her answer to almost. every. question.)
She's gotten to the point where she states the obvious. If I get up to do dishes, she will ask, "Are you gonna do dishes?" If I'm putting on makeup, "Oh yea. Doin' your makeup."
I've noticed recently she doesn't know how to have a real, deep down, conversation. She will ask questions: "Are we going to church tonight?" "Can we go shopping today?"
And we ask her questions: "How was work tonight?" What did you do with the kids today?" And those are usually met with two or three word sentences.
Now, she is getting better and I think that's what caught my attention. She is trying to use more words and engage in conversation. I have to read her lips when she speaks or I can't understand her. And I'm always asking her to repeat it. Sometimes I give excuses like the dishwasher is running or I couldn't hear her over the radio. The other day she even told me, "I think your hearing is bad." I didn't know if I should tell her the truth, or be excited about the sentence she just said!"
And all this has me realizing that we never taught her how to have a conversation. I mean, our other girls just learned it by watching and doing I guess, but Beth just, for whatever reason hasn't learned that skill. I automatically think back to when she was growing up and try to pinpoint the moment we missed. Or the time in her life that we should have been doing it. At 7 or 8 years old? Or would she have needed to be older? And how should we have done it? Have mock conversations with her, trying to think of different scenerios? While we were out, we'd show her how to order from a menu, and then be patient as she said it herself; we'd look at her so the waitress would look at her instead of us, things like that. But basic, everyday conversation? We missed it completely.
She took speech and language classes all through school, were they inadequate? Or was it over her head? Is 'having a conversation' something they even teach in OT? Why didn't I think of this during all those IEP meetings?
And language is SO important in life! As you well know. Speech can be everything. We hope and pray our children learn the words and learn to say them. But if they don't know how to use those words in conversation, what good are they?
I'm not sure what the answer is. Not sure what we should have done differently. But if I could go back and do it again, I'd definitely make that a priority in her life.