The longer we have been on this special needs journey, the more “normal” it has become. Letting Junior be Junior means I don’t notice his limitations first; I notice him first. That said, it’s still exciting to hear him say a new word, reach a milestone, or make progress.
Last week we took a long weekend road trip to the Bay Area. The kids did surprisingly well on the 8- hour-each-way drive, thanks mostly to DIY Travel Games and the DVD Player. Junior had a couple of meltdowns, but overall he did well considering he didn’t nap in the car at all.
I celebrated my 30th birthday up there, and Junior even tried to sing me “Happy Birthday”! It came out “Hap uh buh”, but at least he tried!
Junior loves fish, so we took the kids to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Junior ran around with boundless energy, running from one exhibit to another, but occasionally would stop to see a creature up close. He picked out an octopus hat as his souvenir, and spent the trip home saying “hah”, for hat. He loves to wear it!
Junior is going to be 2 and a half this month, and has been hearing for 20 months. His language should be that of a 20-month old, but he’s above in some areas and below in others. His receptive language (what he understands), is excellent. He understands several hundred words and phrases. His expressive language (what he can say) is behind a bit, but he says roughly 80 words. A stranger wouldn’t be able to understand much of what he says, but we are confident that his annunciation will dramatically improve as he gets older.
Junior has also shown interest in letters and numbers recently. I started showing him letter and number DVDs in the car and working with him when we get the chance, and he can recognize and say all his letters, and can count to 10. I’m so impressed with his willingness to learn, but also understand that his inability to communicate at age level must be very frustrating for him.
Which has been the reason we’re doing Occupational Therapy (OT). He gets very frustrated very easily, and takes it out in ways he shouldn’t. (Throwing, hitting, tantrums, etc.) The hope for OT is to give him coping skills, and to make his body and brain work together more efficiently. He’s also a very poor sleeper, so we’re hoping that OT improves that area of his life (and ours!) as well.
The next step in his speech progress is going to be 2-3 word phrases. He has recently begun using several 2 word phrases “more ____”, “want _____”, “hi _____”, and the new words he’s saying include hat, play, phone, pizza, hungry, and stop.
I can’t believe how quickly the rest of this year has been flying by. I’m sure his next words will be “turkey” and “buffet”!
Read Junior’s Story HERE