Friday, September 19, 2014

Here's an update from my mother:

It's been awhile since I've updated our blog!

It seems like for a long time, we have simply been working very hard, making good but s-l-o-w progress. So, not a lot of new news to talk about. Recently, however, I feel like we have turned some kind of a corner.

Geoff's speech has progressed to a level where instead of us completely directing his therapy, his brain is starting to "get it" enough to ask questions himself. Like, what do you use in place of "a" when you're talking about two or more things? And, why would you say "This is Geoff Hathaway" when talking on the phone, instead of "I am Geoff Hathaway."

His mind is searching for logic and rules as he re-learns the English language, but we are learning that English doesn't always abide by its rules. This is actually exciting to see though, because it means his brain is starting to take charge, trying to figure things out on its own.

And in the midst of all this, the real Geoff Hathaway (not just a part of his brain), will often laugh at how ridiculous this all seems, that he has to ask questions such as this, and learn everything again.

He spends time everyday doing things like re-memorizing irregular past tense verbs. And learning sounds again.

As it turns out, he was not hearing sounds. He could hear the whole word, but not the sounds within it. If I asked him if the "m" sound was in the word "immune," he couldn't tell you. He couldn't decipher the sounds.

So, we are backing up a bit and working on individual sounds and how to move his mouth to make them. And, how to hear them. This is something his wonderful therapist worked with him on a long time ago, but he could not connect with this exercise at all back then. Now, he can. So every day, we drill through the sounds, how to move his mouth, how to hear them, how to say a word slowly so that he can pull the sounds out of it. It's coming along. Pretty amazing.

The other day, he had a lesson in fruit. How some have "pits" and some have "seeds." And how within the category of apples, there are many types: Golden Delicious, McIntosh, etc. I'm not sure why this all made such an impression on him, but it did. He said it was like opening a distant, fuzzy memory. It was clicking.

As Geoff's language improves and he can better attach his complex thoughts onto something tangible like words, I have the unique and spectacular advantage of seeing Geoff's amazing mind reveal itself, again.

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." Psalm 139:14