Azlan is working so hard in speech therapy. I mean...by the end, he's often yawning and just plain done. It's only 30 minutes but sometimes if the next time slot is open, his therapist keeps going an extra 10-20 minutes.
I cannot say enough about what a gift she is to us...to Azlan. She loves him. He loves her. And he works so very hard.
Like anything...it's daily work. We practice each day and each night.
Here's where he is:
He always says "t" for the "K" sound. As in "corn" / "cat" / "comb". He would says "torn/tat/tomb"
He now says them properly, says them in a phrase properly, says them in a full sentence properly And can make up his own sentence (which takes focus) and still say them properly! SO we're moving on from the K sound.
On to a huge one. "S".
So so hard for him but he's so excited when he gets it. Azlan has always put the 's' sound out his nose. As in a strong exhale, nasally. Sounds nothing like an 's' but in his mind it does. He had a very severe cleft palate and has an extreme underbite. All making things just plain difficult. We finally have it coming out his mouth. It doesn't sound like your 's'...it's very lateral. He has to smile to get it close to right...and it comes off the sides of his tongue, half way back in his mouth. Yours...comes off the tip of your tongue, at the very front. Give yourself a serious underbite ... go ahead, try it while you read this...and try to say "S"....better yet, try to say "SH". Not so easy. But he is doing it and he's so determined.
Here's what Azlan knows: he was created. Made. Thought out. Planned. His cleft is no mistake. He has to work harder to do what you and I do without a second thought. We call those bumps in the road "obstacles". We all have them. They are not excuses. They are obstacles.
See...excuses are always a choice. Hurdles and obstacles are what they are. They simply are. It's a fact. An obstacle is a great opportunity to grow. To mature. To become stronger. An excuse is simply when you let that obstacle win.
We live and teach that. In business. In life. We all have obstacles. It's silly to think we won't. We just teach how to overcome them. How to push past them. How to work harder because of them. But definitely...don't let them stop you. Don't let them define you.
Can you imagine if Azlan said "I want to be a teacher someday...but my speech is bad, my deafness is a factor...and well it won't happen for me because I'm not like other kids" and we replied with..."right, let's look at other options!". ...?
We aren't pie in the sky people. Believe it and achieve it as if your belief releases this magic dust that heals all. However...your monologue in your head...changes how you act. You have to have a plan. Our plan with Azlan is to help him every step. And he knows...he will have to work harder. He has bigger obstacles to overcome. But...he also knows the victory is sweeter that way.
I mean...who else gets ice cream cones for saying "I see a cow" properly...? Who else gets Subway chocolate chip cookies for saying "Shoe"...?
Obstacles provide more opportunities for reward. More reasons to celebrate.
Never let them become excuses. That...is always a choice.
If you meet Azlan someday...you will quickly be informed what his name means. And that the Lion...is his biggest hero. Obstacles do mean more work..but in this family...obstacles mean more opportunity for reward.