When you’re a new parent although you would like to know what your baby is thinking, you don’t expect to have a meaningful conversation in the first few years. But when you’re driving your 5 year old home after school you would like to know how his day was. For most parents you just ask and find out that your child made a new friend, painted a picture or watched a movie they liked and so on. But for the parents of a minimally verbal or non-verbal child it’s hard to know exactly what happened that day. I can tell if my son is happy, tired or anxious but it’s difficult to know how he got that way without his teacher’s insights.
We are happy to say that our son’s verbal skills are growing thanks to a great deal of effort by a good many people. We have gone in a relatively short time from “juice” to” juice please” to “ I want juice please” just to use an example. Longer conversations are far away and he still has far less vocabulary than his 2 year younger sister, but we can see progress in the right direction and it is encouraging. My son recently said “Ear hurt” we took him to the doctor to find out he had an ear infection but six months ago we wouldn’t have known with any certainty what was wrong with him, other than he wasn’t feeling well or had a fever.
While it’s likely my son may be delayed for some time I really look forward to the day when we can have a reasonable conversation, much like the one I am already able to have with his sister. For those of you that have a child with delayed speech, help is out there. In many cases progress through an ABA or IBI program can be made, it has been for us, and funding is available for those with an official diagnosis. So don’t give up one day soon you might be able to casually ask your child, how was your day? I can’t wait for the conversation.