One makes a difference

I prompt them from the calendar, the speech calendar from school that provides a daily prompt, as much for me as for them:- “so………what do you know about your grandparents dear?”
“Dey are nice and dead.”
“Nonna next door, she’s only napping dear.”
“Oh……I meaned………….deaf.”

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Freedom of expression

Speech delays are curious things. If you combine them with a smattering of echolalia, sprinkle with scripts and stir in a penchant for colloquialisms, you can end up with a very special recipe. So if you also find that you can’t remember the name of an actor, or that the name of the movie is on the tip of your tongue or you can’t remember the right word, try these strategies instead. Don’t say ‘er, um, actually….’


“We’ll be right back……after these messages.”


“I have short term memory loss.”

Be imaginative and try alternative strategies to solve unusual problems:-

“If your dog doesn’t have a leash use the dog’s tongue instead coz they’re better by design, inbuilt.”

Appreciate expanding social awareness:-

“Elders” are takin over dah world!”

Always try and keep your sense of humour well oiled:-

“It’s called butt kissing.”

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Onwards and upwards

Conversation can be a little stilted around here despite all the speech therapy, practice and encouragement. Whilst we’re lucky that their receptive language, what they understand, is so much better than their expressive language, what they are able to articulate, it still doesn’t come easy. The latest campaign regarding table manners and prepositions flounders, primarily because by dinner time my ability to make things fun is a bit feeble. On the other hand the reading campaign is an undoubted success. Although they prefer cartoon strips given a choice, it’s a choice that’s just fine by me. That said the new trend is most disconcerting. The new trend consists of expressing emotions verbally, straight from the cartoons. Things like ‘zoinks!’ for I’ve just had a bright idea, together with artificial hand gestures or ‘Ahhh EEEEE’ with bared teeth for ‘you surprised me and worst of all, ‘Sighhhhh’ together with a rapidly deflating body posture that says it all, and more. But we trundle on regardless.

“You see it there?”
“The salt cellar?”
“NEXT to the pepper, the brown one. See it?”
“The white one?”
Silence. I attempt hand gestures for emphasis and clarity but merely achieve air traffic controller status, which is not generally helpful at the dinner table.
“Just BEHIND the water jug?”
“Remember our good table manners about passing things to people who can’t reach?”
“You know……so they don’t have to stretch because stretching is rude.”
“Could you just reach out your hand to touch it?”
“Wot did your last slave die of?”

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Rhinotillexomania – nose picking

I am busy picking my nose in a precious moment of privacy, when he bursts into the bathroom to use the facilities, “ooo what you are do?”
I put down the tweezers to explain myself, “well I’m pulling off all the dead sunburnt skin from the tip of my nose.”
“Yes……thank you. It’s very sore actually.”
“Why it burn?”
“The sun……when we were in England.”
“It is being polite?”
“Er…….English style nose pickin.”

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Notable quotes

From stuttered speech delay to fluidity:-

“Yes dear?”
“Yes dear?”
“Here, have a banana, you want to be healthy don’t you?”


“After healthy…….what am I being?”
“Would you like some Goldfish crackers for a treat?”
“Now you’re…… my kinda woman.”

I swear I don’t know where he got that one from although the “Boris Karloff” intonation was a little disconcerting.

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Sea of Clouds

[or why a significant speech delay is such a nebulous thing]

“I am love.”
“Indeed you are dear! Anything in particular that you find favour with today?”
“Yes,” comes the enthusiastic breathy sharer, “I am love the natures.”
“Which particular part of nature?”
“The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter “pictures.”

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The Nature of things

As with most things around here, I have no idea where it came from, but now it’s here, it provides a whole heap of motivation as well as no end of hic-cups for inattentive parents. For some children, the ability to communicate verbally ebbs and flows, with backlogs and blockages, but sometimes we drown in an unexpected flood.
“What? Are you o.k.? What’s the matter dear?”
My son fizzes and hops around the kitchen on stiff stick legs and springy toes as the words percolate up from the depths.
“No what?”
“Don’t what?”
“Don’t touch my nature!”
“Where is your nature……..what is……..your nature?”
He thrusts out a helpful pointy arm to assist me but as he is also spinning in a circle I fail to nail down the point of interest.
He stops dead to turn his entire body into an arrow where his nose directs attention to the counter top and an overturned glass that covers a pebble.
“Ah…….it’s a pebble………….nice.”
“No! It is being my nature. She is being my friend.”
“You have a pebble for a friend…… lovely.”
He gingerly lifts away the glass and peers closely at the pet rock, nudges it gently with his forefinger, “Agh! She is goned!”
“Who is goned…..gone?”
“My friend is lost!”
“Ah…..some kind of insect perhaps?”
“Yes. My rolly polly friend.”
“Ah……she rolled away I suspect.”
“Do not be laugh at my nature friend.”
“You are bad to laugh at nature.”
“Yes….sorry……lets look under the rock shall we?”
The rolly polly is revealed in all it’s glorious magnificence for my son to ooo and ahh over with tender gentle words of adoration. He stops, silent and grasps my wrist between his teeth, the same as a crocodile carries her young. We experience a rare instance of direct eye contact before he releases me.
“Itsa rule!”
“What is?”
“Itsa like the laws of physics.”
“What is like the laws of physics?”
“Be kind to mother nature’s creatures……..or she’ll bite you in the butt.”
I like to think that my own performance might have been better, had it not been 3 in the morning, but I suspect that the jet lag excuse may be running a bit thin.

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The Fleshpots of England

5 Minutes for Special Needs

Maybe people have super-sized themselves during the last year or more probably, there has been a gradual expansion in girth over the past decade whilst I have been distracted by other things.

I am uncertain if people are really larger or whether fashion changes have meant that our bodies are more exposed as clothing becomes ever more skippy and close fitting. Whatever the reason, my son observes over a number of days. We are at the coast where holiday makers are prone to wear holiday clothes and swimsuits, very small ones. I notice him looking without comment. Eventually, after much thought he sees fit to share his opinion with me.
“Yes dear?”
“Dah peoples in England………”
“Dah peoples in England are………”
“Dah peoples in England are very………skin……..skinny.”
I’m sure it was very welcome news to everyone within a five mile radius at 50 decibels.

Curiously the boys were not in the least fazed by the numerous topless sunbathers however my daughter, being in the pre-teen stage of delicacy, was thoroughly mortified.

If you enjoy caption competitions and photographs, you may wish to nip along to“DJ Kirkby” over at “Chez Aspie” and test your brain power.

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Unusually, we drive home from school in relative peace and quiet as the boys’ word bank reads empty. My daughter and I chat. I am fascinated to learn about her new hang out, a cool place for pre-teens.
“Mom……..I was wondering?”
“Maybe Mr. B could take me to the 7 11 to spend my allowance?”
“For a treat.”
“A treat…..maybe we should all go. I’ll treat you all. You can save your pocket money.”
“Yeah Mom!”
“So which would you rather have? A nice healthy juice and a broccoli sandwich or chocolate milk and a doughnut I wonder?”
“Slushy and a doughnut!”
“What about you chaps?” Silence continues.
“What would you like as a treat from the 7 11 guys?”
Silence. I concentrate on driving in heavy commuter traffic. “You ask them dear.”
“Hey you guys!”
“What would you rather have? A disgustin healthy sandwich on yucky brown bread and sugar free juice or a delicious Slushy full of chemicals and a doughnut slathered in chocolate and filled to the brim with E numbers?”
“Okay. So I have proposition one and proposition two. Which do you want?” She repeats the choices with ever more colourful language and descriptions. Silence. “Geez guys. Proposition one or proposition two?” She repeats the choices in purple prose, hand gestures and more animation than you find in the average cartoon caper. “So? Come on! Answer me!”
“Firstly……proposition one is……..long and…… proposition two is……… I dunno what yur talkin about.”

And not a meltdown in sight.

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Bent out of Shape

I run in from the garden with a bent package stuffed under my arm to remove half a dozen red hot rechargeable batteries from the tumble drier, along with a disassembled home made scorpion. The noise is enough to make my ears bleed.
“What a dipstick!”
“Who is being dipstick?”
“The post man.”
“Dah… man? What is dat being?”
“Not what, who….”
“Who is dipstick? Who is post man?”
“Er not post man,….. mail man,…… mail person er…..mail carrier.”
“You are word trouble.”
“Pardon? Attack? Who?”
“Me? Attack whom?”
“No… are be an English attack.”

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