Saturday, August 12, 2006

Speech Therapy is no place for Frogs!

I don't call my son little frog in real life - only in cyberspace. He does have, however, some very "frog like" traits. He adores the water, any water, and has an uncanny knack for finding it - in bathtubs, swimming pools, glasses, mud puddles, fountains, birdbaths, sinks, toilets, ice machines, condensed on cold windows, running out from under piles of melting snow, falling from the sky, etc., etc. Being cold and wet is fine with him. He is a terrific jumper and has incredible muscle definition for a four year old. He has an unnervingly good sense of balance, leaping from the sofa, to the footstool, to the hearth, catching himself by mere toe-holds.

In real life, little frog went though his anti-frog stage. He did not play with his frog toys, discarding the jumping frog to play with the spring loaded container instead. He loved "Little Bear," but did not watch the parts with the zen master frog. He ignored his frog shaped water toys, even the ones that would spit water, in favor of the elephant watering can. Most dramatically he demanded again and again in his own non-verbal style that all frogs leave the speech therapy room. The frogs in the match the card set were unceremoniously dropped on the floor. The jumping frog tiddly-wink toys were chewed on then spit out across the room from the therapist. Frog books resulted in arm biting and pinching. And the next reference to "frogs" sent him under his blanket for the remainder of the session. The therapist said she had another autistic client who felt the same way about cows. Another therapist suggested that because frogs (especially animated ones) have such big mouths and long tongues, little frog may have made a negative association between them and speech therapy where so much oral motor manipulation goes on - - - He does hate "manipulation" of any kind!

Today, 5 Green and Speckled Frogs is his absolute favorite song. He even participates in and enjoys circle time at school when this is the song of the day. He asks me to sing it again and again or play it over and over on the piano. So the therapist may have a point - it is ok for frogs to eat delicious bugs and jump into nice cool pools, but frogs do not belong in speech therapy.

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