Friday, February 1, 2013

There May Be Something to This Alien Thing

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?


Mama D said...

So very happy for you, no matter what the cause!!!

Morag said...

Pretty benevolent aliens :)

Unknown said...

Just so you know....Spencer did not talk until well after he was 2. Since the older two children were spewing paragraphs by that time we (I) was convinced something was wrong. Did all the hearing tests and the speech therapy....nothing much resulted from either. I finally decided that he just needed some extra time...I think that is what we need to,give our kids more of sometimes. So I just gave him an extra year for everything including potty training since he was so sick the first year. I am happy to report he is totally fine, excels in all that he does and speaks perfectly! Maybe baby just needs a little bit of time! Love you. Julie

Tenntrace said...

I remember reading somewhere that multilingual kids initially lag behind in language development, but, due to the multiple language paths created, eventually end up ahead. Is it possible that Stow is just taking a bit longer to sort out his languages since he is dev challenged in that area? And, just a personal note, dd1 was mostly nonverbal until age 3 (combination of slow Lang dev due to ear infections related to allergies and her then undiagnosed Aspergers). I taught her rudimentary sign language to help with some of the communication frustration, and with 3 years of speech therapy and just maturing, now she never shuts up. Lol. She's in college now.

Samantha said...

I like to call it third baby syndrome. My youngest was late at everything, crawling, sitting up, walking, and talking. Potty training was simple with him though. My family doctor said not to worry about it, the other 2 were doing all the talking for him. There is 14 months difference between my boys and older boy would ask for things that younger boy wanted and would give it to him.

On the youngest boys last night before turning 2 I put him to bed like normal. The next morning when he woke up a 2 year old, he was a different child altogether, I still have no explanation for it. Maybe it was Aliens because I noticed a big change in going to bed at 2 and waking up 3 LOL