Sunday, May 2, 2010

Where we're at with language!


Jack has really progressed in language in the last year and I find myself wishing I had documented more on this front. So I'll start. When we had Jack evaluated back in October they put him at about a year behind in speech and language. They broke it down into different categories and some were six month delays but for the most part it was about a year and we could see that when comparing him to family members and friends. When he was around a year old he had a couple words and he had lots of ways of communicating with us. He developed his own "language" which I now believe was his way of trying to talk to us, pretending to talk if you will - imagine Charlie Brown's teacher....I think we sounded like THAT to Jack (poor kid). His processing abilities were just slower and he was missing the language cues that other kids pick up on naturally. We'll never know why but I can't help but feel it was based on his gut health because as his health has improved so has his processing. When Jack turned two years old he was still using "his language" and I think it was starting to freak people out. Autism was suggested by a family member. I cried. We still thought it was adorable (and it was) but I was optimistically waiting for some typical language to start kicking in. In addition to those with concern on their faces are those who say "he's just a boy, they always talk later" or "my cousin's friend's kid didn't talk until he was four and now he won't shut up", etc. He had more words and was reciting things from books and movies and learning songs but other kids his age were starting to string words together creatively and we weren't seeing that yet. The fear would kick back into my head from time to time. Jack was frustrated too, and it showed. Between ages two and two and a half he picked up on vocabulary really well and progressed from there. He started asking "what's this' name?" and started calling us mama and daddy. He was gaining language skills just later, slower, and in a different order than typical.

Jack also used a lot of echolalia, which is taking chunks of words and using those as language in a way that a baby would take one word and use it to build language. He learned to say his abc's (including "next time won't you sing with me") before he could tell you how old he was when asked. At age three he was processing pretty well, following instructions and understanding explainations but his expressive language was really behind. This is when he was evaluated (finally) and his expressive language was scored at a year delay. Speech therapy has been great and since that time he's met many of the goals they set for him. He's asking why questions and his echolalia is breaking down into small appropriate usages which he inserts into creative language. We're extremely pleased with how dynamic his language processing has become and are confident his expressive language will reflect that more and more.

I'm not sure if it's the homeopathy or just where Jack is at right now but this week he told me what he did at school (speech) each time. Usually our conversations when I pick him up go something like this:

me: Did you have fun at school?
J: Yeah, I had fun at school.
me: What did you do at school?
J: I had fun at school.
me: Did you sing a song?
J: Yeah, I sing a song.

You get the idea.

Tuesday it went something like this:

J: Did you have fun at school?
(pretty sure I've overused that phrase at pick up time)
me: Yeah, you had fun? What did you do?
J: I feed the dog his dogfood....and he ate it!
me: Cool! That sounds like a game!
J: And I stick my finger in the paint!
me: Oh, finger painting!
(and sure enough he had blue paint on his fingers)

We also usually notice a drop off in language progression when Jack is sick and he's fevering and congested today and still chatting happily which is exciting. It's so NICE to be in a place of celebrating his many gains. He's way into robots right now, he has a logic robot game he plays on his ipod that's super advanced. He's sleeping wonderfully at night but with this sickness has been sleeping curled into my nook all night. We're planning to go to Disneyland later this week so I'm hoping he feels better soon. I've shown him youtube videos of some of the rides and he's looking forward to "the whale tunnel" (a fairy tale boat ride), "small world", the casey jr train, and the "teacups" (Lord have mercy). What a happy mama my family makes me!

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