I've written several times in the past about Stow's various developmental delays. The worst of these has been his speech delay. Stow's been a pretty quiet guy most of his life. As a baby, he didn't babble. At 12 months, his silence was punctuated only by the occasional "aah, aah." By 14 months, we had started weekly speech therapy sessions, and gradually he started picking up words ("mama," being the main one). By 15 months, he seemed to be making progress, but every time he got sick, he would lose some or most of his words, sometimes reverting back to only "mama." This gaining and losing has been our biggest worry, by far.
Here's the thing about having a kid who doesn't really talk: a lot of times, you don't really notice he's not talking. Instead you think, "What a laid back kid. I'm so glad we were blessed with such a mellow baby!" I can't tell you how many times I realized I was taking advantage of the silence to gather my thoughts instead of engaging him. It took me a long time to realize his silence doesn't necessarily mean he's just super zen.
Some people try to tell us that Stow's silence is "just because he's the third kid." I'm sure having an older brother who's on the autism spectrum and an older sister who's a bit of a drama queen makes it harder to get a word in edgewise, but I don't think that's all that's going on. It's more like there's a lock on the part of his brain where his words are stored, and sometimes he can find the key and sometimes he can't. Whenever he gets sick, the key gets lost and he loses words. I suppose this is true of all of us when we're really sick, but even with a fever/cold/ear infection/C. diff he can be playing around energetically but just not talking.
So, you know, he's been doing speech therapy every week for about six months now. And every week, he says a word or two the therapist hasn't heard before, but he neglects to produce most of his other words. Plus, he rarely manages to imitate a modeled sound or word. And, at the end of each session, we schedule a session for the following week with a shared but unspoken sense of fear that nothing will ever change.
That is, until today.
Today Stow produced thirty words, some of them old, some of them new, some of them spontaneously, and some of them when asked. He even repeated words that were modeled to him.
Thirty words in one hour!
By far the most exciting one for me was "eye." He pointed to Rody's eye and then his eye, and then he said, "eye." I'm sure it doesn't sound like much. But, until today, he had never acknowledged a part of his body. Ever.
The speech therapist was floored by his performance. I was floored by his performance. It's like he's a different kid. At this rate, our therapist be out of a job in another couple of weeks.
But here's what I want to know: Has he just been holding out on us? Is it because the C diff is finally under control (thanks to 4 weeks on some pretty serious medicine--who knows what will happen when he goes off it) and he's finally well? Is it the changes in diet?
Or, has he been abducted by aliens, too?