“Alexa, Turn On the Lamp!” {My Son’s Speech Challenges}


“Alexa, turn on the lamp.”

Best invention ever. Even better than the clapper. Literally hands down (no pun intended), THE BEST INVENTION.

Unless you are 5… and have a speech challenge… WORST INVENTION EVER.

My sweet Eli has had speech challenges since he began to talk or try to. He did early intervention, goes to an amazing preschool on an IEP (where he gets speech therapy), and gets weekly speech therapy from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

Alexa cannot understand him.


He has come such a long way with his speech and desperately he wants her to “wisten” to him. So we practiced and practiced and no way, Jose – has not happened and, boy, does he try.

Until last week.

He has been working on his “Ls” for months and they have been quite the struggle for him. He has mastered the “L” at the beginning of a sound and these momma’s ears loved hearing the first time he said, “I LOVE you,” and I could understand it. He knows his sister-in-law’s name, Lauren, and exaggerates when he pronounces her name. Who knew that when a letter is in the middle of a word, it becomes a totally new way to move your mouth to pronounce it?

So “Alexa” was a challenge, but he persevered in a mighty way.

Eli got really close to the Alexa device. He whispered, then in frustration, his little voice got louder and louder until he was almost screaming.

He knew that when you say Alexa, the base turns blue if she hears you. If she can’t hear or understand you, then no blue. Day after day he would go up to her and say her name and walk away defeated saying, “Oh man!”

After a few speech therapy sessions where “Ls” were the letter of the day, he came home and tried it again, this time skipping the whole whispering stage and going straight for the outside voice, “ALLLLLLEXA,” and the device turned blue! He jumped and danced around so proud that she heard him… all the while forgetting what he was going to ask her to do.

After much more practice, we tried it again, reminding him that you have to ask her to do something after you say her name.

He tried it again and our life and lamp have not been the same since.

“ALLLLLEXA, TURN ON THE LLLLAMP!” And she did, and he was so proud that he FINALLY got her to LLLLLLISTEN to him.

Celebrate the little things, because they sure do add up.

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Hey local mommas! I grew up in Centerville, but I now live in Wilmington with my husband Tony. Together we have 6 kids, Joe, and his wife Allison, Austin, and his wife Hannah, Sydney and her husband Hayden, Andrew and his wife Lauren and our littles, Max and Eli. Did I mention we are a little nuts starting over with this parenting thing when we are 45+? We are officially adding new titles to our names in 2022- Tiki and Jeep (our version of Grandma and Grandpa). My husband and I are both ministers, and we get to work together in a local church. We were both married before and brought our families together in 2010. After a few years of marriage we felt God's leading for us to adopt. We added Max to our family in 2014 and Eli joined us in 2017, our quiver is officially full! Blending our family has been an adventure! Add some ex-spouses and two birth mommas and we have ourselves a crazy crew! Coffee is my love language. The beach is my happy place and I long to have my toes in the sand. I love being part of the team at Dayton Mom Collective.