Conversational Language

It’s been a while since my last post, but life tends to get in the way a bit. With it being summer, I have no excuse for a lack of blogging, and there are a few topics that have been sitting heavy on my mind recently.

The reason I started this autism support blog was to give a voice to a subject that many individuals and families live through everyday. I figured, if one person reads this and finds solace in knowing they aren’t alone, it’s worth writing. That’s what today’s post is all about.

There is an area of being a parent to a child with a developmental disability where I still feel alone. Many things I have accepted, and I know that I keep it all together by focusing on what Elijah can do, not what he can’t do. But I’m only human, and I’m also his mom.

The reality is, my son is 6 and I’ve never had a conversation with him.

I try my best to not dwell on it. I often think how amazing it is that my son can write down words, but not be able to say many of them. And the truth is, he does have some functional language. He can use a sentence to say that he wants something in the format he has learned in therapy. He can quote movies he has frequently watched. And he can tell us hello and goodbye. But I can’t ask him how his day was, or what his favorite food is (it’s McDonald’s, by the way). I can’t talk to him about the new school year starting or about upcoming plans. Of course I can tell him these things, but most likely he will repeat my words back to me.

And then there are the times where it would be incredibly helpful that he be able to converse with us. Such as, when he’s sick or becoming overstimulated. You feel as though you have a sick baby because you have to identify the problem without your child being able to tell you what’s bothering them. We have had to become adept at reading Elijah’s nonverbal cues, often saying that we ‘speak Elijah’.

So why talk about this? Well the truth is, it helps. To never have a conversation with your child can feel lonely. You feel like you’re missing out on this huge component of their life. I would love to sit down with Elijah and talk about his day, or ask him what he wants for Christmas or his birthday. I would love to be able to ask him his favorite movie or food. We know that isn’t our reality now so we enjoy the moments where he learns a new word that isn’t mimicked language or that one time he said “Thanks” without prompting. We celebrate each of these moments. They give us hope for him and what he will one day be able to do. We have learned to never underestimate Elijah, and because of that we have hope that one day we will sit down and have a conversation with our son.

Thank you for reading!

Mandi

 

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