Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wishing Momma's Ears Worked Better

Oh, how frustrating it must be to not be understood.  Is it any wonder kids with language disorders disengage from us???

I took this video today of J-man engaging in some of his new "self talk".  He is looking at a Disney catalog.  I have found him playing, looking at books, etc, while talking to himself like this often.  My ear tries to hear if there are words in there, but often it just sounds like jargon to me. 

However, at one point he brings me the catalog and tries to show/tell me something.

Now, I had no idea what he was trying to tell me.  I thought he was referring to the bike.  But after I put down the video camera and really LOOKED at the book, I saw an ad for Wall-E's eyes (key chain I think).  He was trying to tell me Wall-E!  He pulled me to his TV room to try and tell me he wanted to watch Wall-E!  When I looked at the video I clearly heard him say it... twice.

I am trying, buddy.  Hang in there, I am trying!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Buzz and Woody: Quite a Combination

So J-man has a new obsession.  He has fallen in love with Toy Story.  Or better yet, Toy Story 2.  Buzz and Woody are his new best friends.  I got him the dolls at Target, and he loves them.  Buzz flies.  Woody rides his horse.  And his play is beautiful...  so very, very appropriate!!!

Anyway, because of his new obsession, we watch a lot of Toy Story 2.  A LOT.  I managed to catch this video of him watching it.  If you listen closely, you will hear him trying to sign along.  Honestly, this video makes me cry  (in a good way). 

Obviously, it is only the bits and pieces of words, but I am still amazed when I see him trying.  And in this case, it is purely for the joy of it.  Certainly not to please me (although it does).  And certainly not to get something.  But just because he wants to. 

That's important, people.  Very very important.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Here is a little video of the J-man doing some 'talking'.  He is playing with his new game 'Zingo'...  bingo with a twist, I suppose.  He likes matching the pictures and making the chip machine go. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bottling Joy

I wish I could bottle peace. And kindness. And the delicious good experiences of life.

(Some might call that wine.)

I've had one of the hardest weeks of my work life in a long long time. Without going into details, it was fraught with anger, resentment, sadness, feelings of loss and feeling lost. It has been a week in which I question my desire to stay.  It has made me despair over my value.. or lack thereof.. to the people I work for.  It has been rock hard and painful, and I am plum wrung out.

I came home tonight to J-man in what seemed to be a caffeine-induced frenzy of activity.   I was climbed on, pulled down, over, under and around as he assaulted me with love and joy at my very presence.  For an hour he pulled me from this to that, demanding my attention, my giggles and my laughter.

And at bedtime, I rocked him as I have since he was a newborn. He nestled his head under my chin and relaxed into utter submission in my arms.  The room was pitch dark, with just the sound of our breathing and the creaking of that rocking chair to break the silence.  I absorbed the moment, trying to take it in whole.  I wished to bottle it, to keep it.  Ahh, these moments are just slipping by me faster than I can savor them...

Might I suggest you hold your babies tightly and drink in their deliciousness?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Wicked Smart

A year ago, our Developmental Pediatrician asked me a question. My response has haunted the vacant parts of my brain ever since. He asked me if I thought J-man was smart. I am not sure his motivation at the time… I would imagine he was just curious about my perception of his skills… but who knows? I never asked for clarification.

What haunts me, though, is my response. I said “I don’t know.”

I think this haunts me because, in many respects, it shows my doubt in my own son. At that time, he had no words. No language. No way for me to know. And yet… shouldn’t I have rallied? Insisted that he IS smart? Given him every benefit of the doubt?

Parenting is a minefield of mistakes.

So let me set the record straight.

J-man is wicked smart. Wicked smart.

Aside from the fact he has crazy-mad puzzle skills, visual-spatial and problem solving skills that are beyond good, and a keen ability to make his point known without saying a word, the J-man has yet again shown us that he is absorbing the world.

Tonight at the park, J-man took my hubby up to the jungle gym and proceeded, without further ado, to point to each letter of the alphabet inscribed on the wall and say each letter out loud. Except “G” and “J”. Apparently he skipped those.

Now, you need to understand. I have not made any serious point whatsoever to teach him the alphabet. Or numbers. I do label them on occasion… and he has some alphabet puzzles and magnets… and good old “Sesame Street” and “Super Why”… but it isn’t like I run flashcards at him all day. He never seemed terribly interested, and I‘ve had bigger cognitive fish to fry.

But somewhere along the way, he learned his letters. Without language to support it, he learned them. On his own. Think about that!!! And now that he is starting to use that mouth, it is coming out.

Wicked smart.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Travel'n Down to Nashville

After much hemming, hawing, a-strumming on the banjo and blowing into a jug, we've made a decision. We are a travel'n down to Nashville to see Dr Stephen Camarata of Vanderbelt University and his colleague (and probably more??? Just guessing.... the name and all), Dr Mary Camarata.

Dr Camarata is a nationally known expert in language disorders, including autistic disorders, mixed expressive and receptive language disorders, articulation issues, and other related developmental disorders. His resume is impressive, including:

  • Over 30 peer-reviewed publications related to language disorders, development, and comparable issues;
  • Director of Research in Communication disorders at John F Kennedy Center for Research in Human Development at Vanderbelt University
  • Research evaluator/participant for the National Institutes of Health Center for Scientific Review
  • Director of the Foundation for Late Talking Children

He knows his sh*t.

Recently, Dr Camarata was interviewed on CNN.

About 6 months ago I joined the Natural Late Talkers online support group to learn a little more about this "late talking" issue and to get a different perspective on what might be going on with the J-man. This group is made up largely of parents whose kids do not fit the DSM IV Autism diagnostic criteria, but yet struggle to get educators and professionals to think of their children in any other way. This is a smart group of people, who know the DSM IV very well, and are well informed about what is and is not autism. They don't want an "easier" diagnosis .... they want the right diagnosis. And the right treatment for their very unusual children.

And we fit with them.... their willingness to question, their desire for the right answer... whatever that answer may be.

A large number of these parents have consulted with the Camaratas because of their expertise in the complexities of severe language issues. They are, in many respects, the expert's experts. So we contacted the Camaratas and made an appointment to see them in July for a full evaluation. I don't know what they will say, but I guess I trust that whatever they do say will be right, be true, be accurate.

I just feel it in my gut.

So, here's to answers: good, bad or ugly.

I just wish I liked country music.


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