Something amazing has happened this week, my little boy meowed at me. This probably won’t mean anything to you but to me it was amazing. When he started shaking his head too, we realised it was his version of no. Our silent, frustrated little boy can finally start his journey of communicating with us.
I’ve talked about his suspected Autism on the blog before but I’ve not really touched on his speech & communication issues even though they are a major part of our life.
Delayed speech and problems with communication are one of the key signs of Autism, there are many other signs & symptoms that Archie also displays, but his lack of communication is one that affects his daily life more than others. Archie’s now almost 29 months and still isn’t talking, no baby babble, no crazy toddler language, nothing but a few ooh & aahs.
It’s so frustrating for both him and us. He has no idea how to tell us what he wants apart from dragging us around by our hands or getting so frustrated that he screams. It’s frustrating for us as we just don’t know what he wants, it’s a struggle all day everyday for him & he gets so upset & angry.
We try to give him options to help him show us what he wants but as you can imagine, doing this about 20 times a day is not easy for either of us. Archie has had six months of Speech Therapy, including an intensive six week course which really has helped so much. He hasn’t spoken any words via the Speech Therapy but it’s not just about words it’s about helping him to communicate.
We have noticed definite improvements in his eye contact & responsiveness, it’s not quite enough for him to make progress with his sign language as you can’t quite get his attention or eye contact long enough to make an impact with the actual sign but progress is progress in my eyes.
Now that he has his on version of no he can begin to tell us what he DOESN’T want, which is a major step forward as when we give him his choices he can quickly let us know if it’s something that he doesn’t want. This helps reduce the frustration to an extent as it makes it quicker to figure out what he does actually want. I think the main frustration for me personally is the comments we keep getting from a lot of people. I know they are trying to be helpful by saying ‘it will come in his own time’ or ‘he’s just a typical, lazy boy’.
This really detracts from all the hard work Archie has been putting in, but also the time & effort us as parents and his two wonderful Speech Therapists. I spend so much time working with him, doing all the tasks that I have been taught, using speech & sign at every opportunity and only getting silence back in return.
If I’ve spent the past two hours trying to get him to eat something, giving him various different meals as he has major problems with food but can’t tell me, the last thing I need to hear is ‘he’s just being lazy’ because he’s not. He’s trying so hard, we all are, so hearing that little meow coming from my beautiful baby boy makes me so proud of him and so hopeful that with continued hard work & dedication, we will be have a wonderful conversation one day.