Raising a nonverbal child can be very frustrating; not just for the child struggling to communicate, but also for the parents trying to understand their needs. For the past year we have been working on mastering sign language, which helped us out so so so much. However, it did nothing for my need to hear my son call me mommy. Eli has been signing mommy and daddy and saying daddy (verbally) for a while now. In recent weeks I urged him, while he was signing “mommy go”, to say the words out loud. With Eli’s speech delay he is able to say sounds and syllables, but when it comes to saying complete words they come out jumbled. So, he was physically able to say mama, but using it in the appropriate way, was not happening. Until about a week ago! Now, when Eli is signing “mommy, go!” he will also say the words. Of course since he’s still working these things out it comes out more like “Ma-Ma OOH!” I’ll take it. I have been waiting three years to hear my son call me mama and it was the most beautiful experience with him yet!
I have tried to use this tactic for other signs he uses. For instance, he can sign “open”. We try and break it down to “oh” “puh” “en”. He can say all those syllables, and when we go to say it all together and faster, it comes out in baby babble. Same goes for the word “more” We have been working on “mmm” “oh” “rrrr”. Yet again though, when said all together, it comes out jumbled.
It is very frustrating at times because I know the potential he has to speak; he just can’t quite get it out. It is very entertaining to listen to him tell stories though. Yesterday he told me a gripping tale of how the sippy cup fell from the top of his loft bed and fell onto the floor spilling water everywhere. He is very animated. But I can tell just how thrilling the story is by his facial expressions and hand motions, even if all he is saying out loud is baby babble.
I don’t have a doubt in my mind that Eli will get there. Only a year ago he wasn’t using any forms of communication and saying no words verbally. Now, he signs over 20 words/phrases and verbally says about 7 or so words. It takes a long of dedication and persistence to get a delayed child up to speed. At times it may be a lot and very overwhelming but I am the bridge to get my son to where he needs to be. I will keep going full speed ahead! Mama Go!!!