Paxton has been going to speech once a week for about four months now and we are seeing some improvements. For the most part I can't tell which improvements are directly from speech and which improvements are from getting older and just trying a little harder, but Paxton has definitely improved. At this point (31 months), Paxton is talking in two-word sentences and communicating what he wants with words instead of pointing or whining for the most part. He is getting good at putting words he knows together to make a "sentence" instead of just using stock phrases. A lot of his older words are still mainly recognizable by the inflection or by the context (for example purple and balloon sound the same but when he squeals excitedly while we're passing the car dealerships, it's balloon), but words he is learning now are pronounced much more clearly.
In the past couple of weeks, he has started putting even more than two words together. Yesterday he said "purple car Mommy's car" to let me know that his purple car was in my car. He has also started being interested in whose things are whose. He will point to Porter's food pouch and say "Porter's applesauce" and when we are running bath water in Porter's tub, he will say "Porter's bath, Porter stinky".
He made his first joke a few days ago and I thought it was really neat. Porter had a blow out on our bed and I hadn't had a chance to change the sheets yet. Paxton climbed up to play while I was wiping Porter down and I pointed at the poop and told him to stay away from it and that it was yucky. He pointed at it and said "yellow poop stinky, P.U." and I agreed with him. Then he got a big smile and said "yum" and cracked up. I thought it was pretty cool that he realized that saying the opposite was funny. And now he has made it our little inside joke. He comes up to me all the time and says "yellow poop...yum" and we both crack up every time.
Anna (his speech therapist) has started on a Cycles approach now which is where his problem areas are broken down by weeks and each week she gives him 5 index cards that target one area. All week we repeat those 5 cards and by the end of the week he should get the concept. We have only done one week so far, but Paxton does well with repetition so I think it's a good tactic. I appreciate that she has taken these months to get to know Paxton and figure out a plan that fits with his learning style.
On the other hand, I am a little stressed that he is more than halfway to three and we aren't where we need to be. He has made progress, but he is still about 6 months behind where he should be. It definitely helps me to know that this is probably just a speech issue and not developmental delays or a behavioral issue, but it's still hard to see our friends' kids learn to talk without trouble and to know that the word "delayed" is being used to label your child. Nothing will change how much I love him or how proud I am of him. I hate to think that this might cause other kids to make fun of him in the future, but if it does I know that it will ultimately make him stronger. I know that I am his advocate and I will do whatever I can to help him learn what he needs to learn and to get the help that he needs.