Monday, July 24, 2006

Beyond Words

A few months ago I let down my guard and lamented to a friend that I would give anything -- anything -- if Oliver would talk. That's when she told me that she wished she had my problem because it felt like there were days when she couldn't get her daughter to shut up. Aside from that being just an incredibly stupid thing to say, it made me realize that sometimes it is really difficult to "get" someone else's problems unless you've put on their proverbial shoes. But I've made a real effort this summer to kick off my shoes, proverbial, metaphorical and otherwise and spend some time walking barefoot, feeling the earth, wet from a child's afternoon romp under the sprinkler, squish up between my toes. And it feels good. It feels right. I'm tired of my shoes and I'm not about to try on anyone else's either. So I've made a lot of excuses, let the phone ring the machine will get it, turned down invitations, left early when it didn't feel right and just generally tried to keep my feet in close contact with the earth in my own little patch of backyard.

Yesterday I spent some time with Oliver laying in the grass in our backyard, gazing up at the tree and the sky and the clouds. It has been a long time since I did that, maybe since I was a child myself. It reminded me what it is like to be a little person in a big person's world. It was also quite itchy laying in the grass like that.

Oliver is making some progress though on his use of language. He is repeating more: both immediately and delayed. If I help him point to objects and then label them he will ususally try to repeat what I've said if I give him the space and time. Or if he is upset or confused he might also repeat what was just said. I know this is a good sign but I am also trying hard not to get so excited that I begin to pressure him into performing.

The three words for celebration this week are: "Bye", "Oliver", and "Yes". All of which have consistently been heard from a little special someone who moves me beyond words.


  1. Good for you! And wonderful for repeating words. Oliver's language sounds similar to Roo's. Repeating is mostly what we get from our little guy too.

    Excuse me while I go join Roo in on the grass under our tree.

  2. When Littleman was screaming and reaching for me as his speech therapist struggled to manipulate his hands into signs for communicating, I wondered if he would ever have "meaningful language", a term every therapist felt intent on torturing me with.
    This place that you describe, can be very frustrating and isolating.
    Just being with Oliver and giving him reasons to connect is sometimes all you can do for the moment, that and celebrating his success with every new word. I don't know that Oliver will begin to speak as Littleman has, but I do know amazing progress is possible with lots of hard work. I am happy to hear you are trying to take of yourself too- by keeping the world at bay for awhile and resting in the grass with your son. Good for you and good work Oliver!

  3. I remember posting, months ago, that all reading mothers should cherish that endless prattle from the back seat when they are driving because I would give ANYTHING for that. We're not there yet, but Conor is beginning to attempt conversations. Oliver will get there. Hugs to you.

  4. Mom-Nos had a great post about the development of language. It progressed from echolalia to scripting to conversation. ASD kids have a developmental projection that is different than NT, however, many of them do develop speech.

    With Alexander, it started with labeling (which he still does), to echolalia, to spontaneous sentences. His speech is really good when he is motivated, which occurs either when he really is excited or when he really doesn't want to do something. I also think Verbal Behavior has helped tremendously with this.

  5. hooray for the words spoken, as well as the sweet words not spoken during such wonderful moments together on the (itchy!) green grass! three cheers for oliver's three new words!

  6. Christine, I remember feeling the very same so often----it was always a bit hard to read about parents whose kids could talk and had plenty of other thing to deal with. But, I would think, at least that child does not have language, communication, articulation, apraxia, oral-motor issues like Charlie's----he was 6 when he could say his name sort of right.

    I find the grass itchy too. Charlie likes to barefoot in it.

  7. Your new way of looking at things and moving beyond your ordinary is wonderful. The words you chose to write even seemed to speak of ease.
    Oliver sounds like he is making gains:o) It will come. I have been in your shoes not too long ago. Gabe speaks 4 word sentences now and requests for things. I am amazed everyday how far he has come. He was nonverbal only a little over a year ago today.