One of the things that I have most often struggled with, both before and after Simon’s diagnosis, is comparing him to other children his age. I think
most, if not all, parents probably do this to one degree or another. Actually, reverse that. I think all parents do it, even if they don’t like to admit to it.
I was and still is often very hard for me to see Simon’s (and George’s) typical peers. It makes me sad to see the things he “could” be doing, but isn’t. And, yes, I feel jealous sometimes.
However, one of the things about having a delayed child (whatever delay it might be) is the greatest feeling of pride and joy you feel when they do finally hit a milestone. It doesn’t matter if they are just a few months behind or years behind their peers, but when they finally say that first word or take that first step or do whatever first they’ve been working towards, you feel like they just went to the moon and back.
In my last post, I mentioned that Simon was in the midst of a language explosion. It has continued and he is currently at somewhere between 30-50 words. I’m guessing there because I’ve lost track of everything he can say, but it seems like he’s coming out with something new every day or two.
It’s often a common complaint amongst the parents of two and three-year-olds that this is age where they start back talking, or sassing, or being defiant little shits, whatever you want to call it. As the parent of an extremely verbal, neuro-typical kindergartener, I get it. I know the pain of which you speak. But I still cried tears of joy the first time I told Simon to stop doing something, only to be answered with a resounding “Nah!” He has also added “stop!” to his repertoire for when we are trying to get him to do something he doesn’t want to do, like change his diaper. Talking back like that is such a typical thing to do for kids his age, that most people wouldn’t realize the joy it brings to the parent of a previously non-verbal child.
Another thing that doesn’t seem like such a big deal is stringing two or more words together to show intent. I forget what Simon’s SLP called it; I’m sure I’ve got a handout somewhere in my purse, but I’m too lazy to go searching for it right now. Up until now, he’s mainly be saying nouns and using his signs to indicated ‘want’. He’s only got a few verbs, like ‘jump’. Anyway, using words to indicate intent, “I want cookie” for example, is something that is typically seen around the age of 2, give or take. Simon’s SLP said, literally just yesterday, that it’s something that occurs once a child gets between 50-100 words. In fact, we opted (yesterday) to pause his speech therapy at the autism center because he’s gaining so many words on his own (plus getting speech at school) and she’d rather save our limited sessions for when he’s got the “I want” capability.
Well, wouldn’t you know what he said to me this morning? He was building his usual breakfast food buffet, consisting of oatmeal, juice, pretzels, tortilla chips, a cookie, and either a banana or apple. He came and asked for pretzels in his usual manner, saying pretzel with signing ‘want’ and ‘please’. I said, “Yes, pretzels are good aren’t they? I like pretzels, too.” He said and signed again and I replied, “Yes, I know you like pretzels. Oh, do you WANT pretzels?” And damned if he didn’t come back with “want pretzels”! And then he did the same with water. It took some prompting, so it’s not a fluent skill yet, but still, he did it.
My son verbally told me that he wanted pretzels and water.
It’s the little things in life, isn’t it?
And as an added bonus of shameless self-promotion……
A flash-fiction story of mine recently placed in the Top 10 of the wow-womenonwriting Summer 2015 contest. My story ‘Swinging’ was the first piece of flash fiction that I’ve written, so I’m very, very pleased with how well I did. Please go and have a read!