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.




© Copyright Tatum, All rights Reserved. Written For: Ain't No Roller Coaster

7 thoughts on “When your non-verbal kid is suddenly verbal

  1. Just the post I needed to read this week, Tatum. Boo has started Speech and Language. He has various sounds and odd words but therapy at us talking about him being non-verbal needs comms devices etc. If so, so be it, but he is only 20.5 months (18 corrected). Won’t go on as I blogged about it earlier in the week. But as always, Owen’s story is making us hope for good things for Boo.

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