When your non-verbal kid is suddenly verbal

When Owen was one, we still hadn’t really heard his voice.  His cry was a hiss, his laugh was a belly shake and beyond that we just heard lots of wheezes coming from his lungs.  He never babbled, imitated speech or made much sound at all.  I’m not going to lie, I was concerned that we’d never hear his voice.  Even when he did start to have the lung capacity for making some sound, he said very little.  He was 18 months before he truly babbled consonants and vowels and he did that sparingly.  Shortly after his second birthday, he started finding a few word.

 

Seemingly out of no where these last few months, Owen is suddenly a jabber jaws.  There isn’t a word he doesn’t try to say and he’s pretty vocal with his opinions too.  Last month, he had his NICU follow-up appointment that included a Bayley development screen.  Owen is still globally delayed, however, we learned that in the last year he has narrowed the gap compared to same aged peers.  Where did he score highest?  Language.  So high, that when correcting his age (which they did one last time) Owen was only 2 points from falling within the average range of a 26 month old.  In the last month, I’m guessing he closed that gap some more.

I love to hear him talk.  It seems no matter what the word, it’s cuter coming from his sweet – and still somewhat quiet – voice.  I’m also learning that all that time I assumed he didn’t understand me, he was listening.  For example, he just started talking, but he’s also already counting.  With very few mistakes, he gets into the low 20’s.  He’s also saying most of the alphabet and singing to his favorite songs.

He’s proving that non-verbal was no indication of his comprehension.  He clearly understood so much more than we ever gave him credit for…he heard everything…did I mention everything?

Owen has a new favorite word.  He uses it about 50 times a day.  I’m not exaggerating.  Some of the time it’s used appropriately, like when he drops a toy.  Other times, I think he just likes to say it.  I hear him tonight laying in bed saying it as he waits to fall asleep…clear as day…

“damn it, damn it, damn it”

Yes, guys, never underestimate your non-verbal kids because one day, they just may surprise you with a potty mouth.  I’m not going to lie…I’m pretty proud (and a little chagrin).

This kid is going places.

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Owen’s Amazing Week

I’m not really sure where to begin. It’s as if Owen’s turning 15 months actual last week caused this transition from passively amused observer to active participant in the world around him. The only thing a little disappointing is that I have no good quality photos and videos, so bear with what is here to see and help me celebrate Owen’s amazing week.

Owen achieved each of these milestones in a span of ten days.

Imitating sounds and using repeated consonant sounds: Owen and I had just picked Kellen up from school. Owen got a little fussy so Kellen and I started making his favorite sound, “Owen, Ba Ba Booom”. Kellen reported after the first, that Owen started smiling. After a few times, we stopped and then I hear, clear as day, “Ba Ba Ba”. Kellen and I started cheering and Owen did it again!

Clapping his hands and doing it Interactively: A couple weeks ago, as I was writing a post, I reported that Owen was clapping his hands together for the first time. At that point, it was physically the act of putting two open hands together. By early last week he was doing it in a social context. He claps to “Clap, Clap, Clap”, “Yeah”, or “Patty Cake”. Last week when his Early Intervention teachers were visiting, Barb was smiling at him and saying, “good job, Owen” and he started clapping with excitement. Here’s a 7 second video of him clapping for me last week.

Up on all Fours and Rocking: Last week, I reported that Owen was just starting to come up on his arms or legs, but was still working on getting them both together. By Thursday he was up on all fours and by Saturday he was staying up for 30-60 seconds and rocking. With assistance, he will raise one hand at a time and has made some tiny scoots backwards. He is really interested in moving, he practices and practices all day and night. Sunday/Monday night his monitor started alarming at 2:30 AM because it couldn’t get a reading. I went in to check if it came off his foot and there is Owen facing the foot end of the bed on all fours and rocking. It’s time to move the crib down.  Blurry picture alert, but here is an image of him this weekend when he was still using his forearms.  As of the last couple days he’s using his hands, not his forearms.

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Standing Against the Couch:  This one shocked me a little – We were playing at his Leap Frog table on Saturday and he was really close to standing against it without my help but couldn’t hold it for more than a couple seconds.  I then tried the couch, thinking it might be a little more supportive since it’s higher.  I put a book out, stood him up and let go and he kept playing with the book – long enough for me to grab the phone, turn on the camera, take a picture and cheer (and tear) a little.  it was at least 20 seconds.  He’s since done it several times.  Besides talking this is the skill that really meant something to Kellen.  He’s so excited to watch Owen “not be a baby anymore”.

Taking Steps in Assisted Standing:  This one is still in the earliest stages, but with us leading his weight, he will pick up his legs and step.  They are active steps, not just feet dragging.  He walked, while I held his hands, a couple of feet into Kyle’s arms when Kyle got home on Sunday.

I’m seriously grinning as I type all of these.  What a wonderful week to savor.  To me, what’s really amazing is that he made significant advancements in fine motor, gross motor, language and social all in one week.  I actually am excited to go to his Gross Motor evaluation on Thursday so he can show his Physical Therapist that he’s not been resting since he last saw her a couple of weeks ago.