D recently turned four and I’m just now being emotional about it. I was watching an episode of Atypical on Netflix where the family came across a list of the mom’s hopes for her teenage son on the spectrum. One of the things she listed was that he would be able to communicate effectively. My eyes immediately welled up.
Baby A looked up at me and said, “Mommy, you sad?” I told her I wasn’t. The truth was nothing had struck so close to home in a long time and I was caught completely off guard. I worry about D all the time. It’s not the popular thing to say as an ASD parent, but it’s always in the back of my mind. On his birthday, I woke up and had a reassuring feeling that he would talk this year. I know he’ll talk.
If he could only tell me what he needs: a hug, some space, a squishy ball. I would settle for what he wants: a snack, something to drink, or run around for an hour. It’s a game of charades we seldom win but when we do it feels like a miracle. I cried when I saw this particular episode in part because I know I’m not alone. How many other moms would love to hear their children call to them, or hear them say they love her?
A couple of weeks ago we had an appointment at the house with his case manager and Speech Language Pathologist (SLP). I have been modeling words for him for about a year, in the form of “Momma” ::wait for him to say it:: “I” ::wait:: “want” ::wait:: “*object or desired action*” ::wait::. After five separate prompts he started to say “I” by himself. By the end of our appointment he had said “I want chase” three times independently. It was by far one of the happiest days of my life. Granted, it sounded like, “I. Want. Chase” but he was able to speak those three words by himself and knew what they meant.