My new favourite word is, "Go!"
Random, right? Well, maybe not so random. You see, my son is a late talker. Or maybe the correct thing to say is that he has a speech delay. I don't think I'd consider him non-verbal. He has lots to say. Honestly, I've been to so many "experts," I don't know what to call it.
Bottom line? My awesome, loveable, funny, adventurous, oh so cute, busy boy doesn't say a lot. At least not in English.
My son is almost 2 1/2. He hit all of his milestones early, with the exception of those related to communication. He has always understood language very well, and has found ways to communicate. He points, leads, gestures. We know what he wants and needs.
I have always been a little concerned with his speech, but also recognized that he surpassed a lot of other milestones, and figured it would come. Also, his father was a late talker. At his 18 month assessment, we referred him to a local speech program. Four months later, we got into an assessment, and was matched with a Speech Language Pathologist. It's been 7 months since we started seeing a SLP and we've definitely seen improvement, but it is slow.
A little over a week ago, everything changed. He said his first real word: GO!
We say, "Ready?... Steady..." and he says, "Go!!!" It gets clearer all the time, and he uses it in new contexts all the time. Of course, we set him up with situations to practice all the time. Empty aisle at the supermarket? Quiet parking lot? Stairs to bounce down? I say, "Ready?" He screams, "Go!" And away we go. It's like music to my ears. He is so proud of himself.
We've been seeing progress over the past 7 months, but this is big. So, we'll keep making animal sounds, practice taking turns, play mirror to copy each other, use picture prompts, and pair sign language with verbal language. We'll build his language skills, even though his speech is delayed. He can identify colours, animals, objects, and follows directions well (well, when his little two-year old mind wants to!) and he loves to learn!
The more I learn, the more I realize that every child is unique. My Little C isn't your Little A. And that's not a bad thing. Every child develops in their own way, with their own strengths and difficulties. It's hard not to compare, but really, you can't compare. Milestones aren't an exact science.
That's not to say that I take a "wait and see" approach, but I have to remember that learning takes time and not to get discouraged. We'll get help with anything that he needs, and have fun with his strengths while supporting and improving areas that aren't as strong.
We'll keep working and having fun while we are.
Ready... steady... Go!