To Comprehend or Not To Comprehend….the Ongoing Question

Last week, Adam re-entered private speech therapy, for probably the 5th time his short life. This time, however, it was a bit tougher for me to explain to him, for unlike the other 4 times, he started to pepper me with 20 questions as to why he needed to go back to ‘speech class’.  As he put it:

“Adam is ‘conversating’ just fine. Mom can know why Adam is going back to speech class”

….And, that, my friends, is EXACTLY why, my son is once again, re-entering therapy.

The fact of the matter is, Adam doesn’t at all see anything different regarding the way his speech has formed. In his mind, he gets his point across. He uses vocabulary that is familiar to him; and his family, friends, teachers and coaches help fill in the rest of the blanks when the ‘conversating’ gets a bit sketchy. He confuses pronouns; calling boys ‘shes’, girls ‘hes’; he calls himself ‘you’ instead of ‘me’ and  from time to time, still refers to himself in the third person (thanks a lot Elmo). I truthfully sometimes feel like he’s Abbott and I’m Costello in the sketch “Who’s on First”.

So aside from trying to sort out Adam’s use of language, his speech therapist has been given the task of helping Adam to improve his reading comprehension by helping him to really understand the meaning of the words he is using. We are hoping that if he can learn to make a connection to the words that he is reading, he will improve his ability to recall what he has read and what he has heard.

For years, I have struggled with Adam’s ability to comprehend. When his teachers said ‘no’ to comprehension,  I said  ‘yes’ and when his teachers said ‘yes’, I said ‘no’. It’s like watching a tennis match at Wimbledon.  When his reading and comprehension levels are tested at school, although he can fluently read the words of anything that he is given, he consistently tests at a beginning 2nd grade level at best. He looks like absolute crap on paper. We are continually working on closing a gap that seems to just be getting wider.

A few weekends ago, my daughter, Lacey performed in her high school dance company’s annual dance show. Adam, along with several of his friends, who are all a part of a wonderful  athletic program for special needs students, in which our school district sponsors, also performed in the show. I watched Adam show off his best dance moves to Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it Off’, quickly exit the stage, and settle into a seat, front and center, in the very first row of the auditorium all by himself. The M.C.’s for the evening, who are basically there to kill a little time while the dance company makes costume changes,  entered the stage. To the audience, they ask the question;

“Who has been the biggest influence in your life?”

Adam’s hand shot like an arrow into the air. I could literally hears gasps in the auditorium, for, that evening,several friends were in the audience who know Adam very well. As one of the M.C.’s started walking toward him, I immediately sank into my seat; my hands going straight to my head and I started to pray as hard and as fast as I could…

Please don’t say my mom’s butt, please don’t say my mom’s butt. Please say ANYTHING but mom’s butt!!!!

As Adam started to speak, my eyes shot  to the front row.  I couldn’t believe my ears:

My mom, dad, Alex, Lacey, Annie, Bentley, and Lizzie

….the cat, whom he hates, even made the list.

I was stunned! He answered the question with the appropriate answer! I still can hear the collective sigh of relief throughout the auditorium.

He is comprehending….

Fast forward to earlier this week; I was helping Adam study for his health quiz:

Me: Liver

Adam: Helps to metabolize carbohydrates

Me: Pancreas

Adam: Makes insulin

Me: Esophagus

Adam: Carries food from mouth to stomach

He’s totally comprehending

Me: Uterus

Adam: Holds a growing baby until birth

Me: Ovaries (can this be over soon?)

Adam: Produce hormones and release eggs

Of course he is comprehending

Me: (cringing) Gonads

Adam: Testes

He then stops, squints at my waist and says:

Adam wants to see mom’s gonads

Please. Shoot. Me. Now….he’s not comprehending.

On second thought, I’m going to let his speech therapist continue to sort this out!









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