After an in-depth conversation with our ECI therapist, J, it has been determined that Ellie has trouble building her sound-repertoire.
Sound-Repertoire or Word-Repertoire:
Basically, Ellie learns one sound and then drops the previous sound. She has trouble building new sounds into her vocabulary. For instance, Ellie used to say "oo" for shoe. She then started saying "sssss" for sock, but dropped the "oo". Now she has dropped the "ssssss" in favor of "puh" for pig. It is as though she can only have one sound and one sound only.
Consonant cards are just that, cards with consonants on them. The thought is that children with Down syndrome are visual learners. Holding up the "P" card while saying "Puh" builds a connection. It imprints it in their memories. Repetition is also key.
Building Sounds Using Consonant Cards:
Set your child up to succeed. Because I know Ellie can do the "P" sound, I am starting with the P consonant card. I go through each of the letters 3 x day in the same order (remember repetition is key). The goal is for Ellie to make the sound back to me.
Additionally, I am to carrying the "P" card and show it to her multiple times a day and really emphasize the "puh" sound with each item we encounter throughout the day--ie Pink clothes, Purple clothes, Pants, Peanut butter, Pig, Potato, Please, etc. Constantly, reinforcing the "puh" sound. The card will be held up next to my mouth so that she associates "P" with "puh". Gradually, I will add in more consonant cards, thus building her sound-repertoire.
Eventually, I hope that Ellie will have a wide variety of sounds that will then lead to words!