Monday, November 4, 2013

Break Through

Did he really just say that?

I ask myself this question frequently throughout our days now. "Did he really just SAY that?" During the 30 minute conversation that I had with Jonah after picking him up from school tonight, I asked myself that question at least 60 times. 

That's right, folks! I'm having 30 minute conversations with my son! 

Just so you know, these are not just casual conversations where I ask him questions about his day, and he gives me short quick answers. These are conversations where I ask my son what happened at school today, and then I can't get a word in edgewise for at least the next 30 minutes. I just sit there laughing at how amazing all the little details are becoming. 

He's telling me stuff that his friends say, who made good choices and bad choices, who he went to PE with. These are all details that have been emerging in his evening dialogue with me for the past several months now. The dialogue started small. I would ask him if he had a good day, and he would only answer with a "yes" or "no". 

Tonight when we walked through the door, Jonah stopped to check out a couple of his school projects on the table, and said "Whoa. It's my jack o lantern. I made it at school. Mommy, mommy. Look mommy. And it's a bat. Oh man! Where's my spider? I made a spider. I must have left it at school." 

He no longer refers to himself in third person as of about a month ago. He's using "I", "me", "my", "mine" appropriately.  Huge step in intelligible speech.

There is still difficulty in understanding some of his speech. Still some mispronunciation. Still some difficulty in building sentence structure. I couldn't give a shit about all that because my son is finally talking to me.

My Jonah is talking to me. Not at me, but to me. With me.

I can think back to a time not so long ago, When Jonah was almost 3. He said "Wow" at some bubbles during an ABA session. I thought to myself then "Did he really just say that?" That was exciting. 

As Jonah got older, he learned how to ask for things he wanted like milk. This is how it went down most of the time:
  1. He would just come up behind me and squawk or grunt. 
  2. When I would ask him what he wanted, he would answer quickly "milk." 
  3. I would have to say "Then, how do you ask?"
  4. Sometimes he would begin whining or grunting in an attempt not to have to say it, but I would push him until he asked...
  5. "I want milk, please?"
And, I would think, "Wow. Did he really just say that?" I was grateful for any words that came from his mouth. But there was no Jonah behind the words that he was trained to say, or the answers he was trained to give. His expression was always shining through in his cute mannerisms, looks, gestures, dancing, singing, vocal stimming, but not a lot of expression in his words until a couple years ago. 

A couple years ago, I was so convinced in the improvements I noticed in Jonah's behavior just by making organic & unprocessed foods a priority in our diets, that I dove head first into CEASE therapy.  I'm sure most friends thought I was losing my mind. Here we are over two years later, all of the hard work is paying off. Every day, I think "If he doesn't get better than this, I'm happy." But every day just keeps getting better.