This week is the one year anniversary of Eli talking. As soon as I realized it was coming up I became extremely nostalgic and began looking back on how far he has come, not only in the past year, but in all four years of his life! (Honestly, I will use any excuse I can to look back at old pictures and videos and get emotional that my baby is growing up, isn’t it the saddest thing?!)
As a parent, you become so in tune with your kids that you can often know what they need with little to no help. When Eli was an infant, I could determine his needs by the sound of his cries. Until the Age of 2 ½ he communicated with baby babble and pointing (which started frustration tantrums from not being understood). Around the 2 ½ year mark is when he began catching on to sign language that significantly lessened the tantrums. I’ve written in the past about his sign language vocabulary; daycare taught him a couple and once we started implementing them at home and in therapy the number of signs grew into the 20 or 30’s.
Then the day came in June last year, at just over three years old. Eli was in ABA therapy and they were practicing the sign for “mama, go” and working on saying the words aloud with the sign. Suddenly it stumbled out of his mouth and from then on out he would sign AND say the phrase “mama, go.” It was beautiful. Hearing your child’s voice when they change from speaking in babble to speaking actual words is such a huge difference. For a couple days, it was the only word he could say, but before long he was slowly speaking a lot of his sign language words along with the sign. I personally credit our amazing therapists along with the Kauffman card method. I’ve made a post about those cards in the past and I may do another one because they worked wonders for Eli. Our speech therapist worked with our ABA therapists and, both using the Kauffman cards, got Eli saying new words every week. His vocabulary grew like wildfire. He had his language explosion. And this week it has been a year since it all started.
I would love to be able to put a number on Eli’s vocabulary but it’s too big to count. He is learning new words and phrases every day; whether from other people, t.v., books, etc. He creates, what I like to call, a phrase of the week. For a while he was saying “sorry ‘bout that” for every little thing. Lately his phrase has been “see that?!” He often speaks in complete sentences although it’s not always clear. I understand a lot of what he says just from being around him all the time and I often need to translate for others. The best part now, for everyone, is that Eli can speak for himself. He can tell everyone what he needs, wants, and feels. There are still many things that are difficult for Eli to understand and deal with; but his developed speech helps open the way for other obstacles to be overcome!