It's often said that a kiddo has a "verbal explosion" where s/he starts using new sounds and words. It's noticeable and can be very exciting. But when you have a non-verbal child, there doesn't seem to be many language explosions or they are much more subtle. In Owen's case, he likes to hide what he knows until he's got it down pat--that's the perfectionist in him (and I have NO idea where he got that from........heavy on the sarcasm there!) But lately Owen has been much more expressive in conversations with us, showing us that he really understands what we say and that he is a participant. He's even tried to say a few things, although this continues to be very sporadic. But any time there is something new coming from him verbally, I am encouraged that the things we practice are slowly working. We recently had a re-evaluation by his private speech therapist which incorporates some work on the apraxia front and a conference at preschool revealed that he is working on the same sounds we've been focusing on at home and at private therapy.
Every night after Owen climbs into bed and the light has been turned off, I lay down next to him for a few minutes and we "talk". Sometimes I tell him about what we're doing tomorrow, sometimes we make shadows on the wall, sometimes he pushes me out and waves--just depends on what mood he's in! One night last week, I was asking him to point out various things--his nose, his hand, his hair. Then on a whim I asked him "where's Mama's hair?" Now normally when he is asked this, he'll just sign "mom" or touch my arm. But this time, he touched my hair, so I asked him where my nose, hand, and eyes were and he got them right each time. Cool--he's getting the concept that other people have eyes, hair, hands, and noses too! Then I asked him, "what are you going to do now?" fully expecting a blank look from him. But then he signed "sleep" and gave me a wave. I asked him if he wanted me to go and he signed "yes, sleep". Far be it for me to take away the prince's beauty sleep!
When we were at the Y swimming over the weekend, the three of us played a game of ball, tossing it back and forth. Owen was pointing to whomever he wanted the ball to be thrown to and also signed mom, dad, or O for Owen. He was completely in control of that game!
We've been trying to pair signs with words--more, milk, mom, bye, bath, please, all done. Frequently we've been hearing "m" and "mo" when he signs more and even "ah duh" when signing all done. His b sound is coming along too as he tries to verbally say "bye" now to everyone.
They say "slow and steady wins the race"........so even though we're on Lap 1, I feel like I can finally see our way to the finish line someday.