And good things are happening- he can repeat an approximation of any word you request. He can repeat actions, he can do many things with verbal prompts. There is so much progress that it's hard to get into- which is an amazing thing.
His level of awareness is much higher than it was- this brings some new challenges for our family- for the first time, we are seeing sensory sensitivities in our usually "seeking" child- he covers his ears now with loud noises, he doesn't like the snow any more. His tech and I have committed the cardinal sin of cheering too lousy when he does something well!! This is something he never used to notice- it's a positive- but I imagine it makes his life harder. He also wants MORE input in other ways- especially visually- he will try to grab his iPad and his brothers and put on two movies simultaneously. Or (and this one in my opinion just shows he is a genius) he will stand on a chair and watch his iPad in the mirror. Not even a little kidding.
His verbal communication and note I say communication and not speech, because they are very different entities, has been the slowest to develop. And unfortunately that lag along with increased awareness is causing him more frustration than he has expressed in the past. He is not content to accept the status quo, i.e. the same food he has always liked- he wants to keep trying until we get it right-but often loses it before we get there. But he is trying to do it verbally, and it's just so difficult for him- he can ask for something to eat, and then when I say what do you want? He says "iPad". And he may even be holding it. It's just his "default" response. It's so frustrating for both of us. And yet it's encouraging at the same time, if that makes sense
I am finding myself speaking to him on a different level- I often wonder if he thinks I am talking down to him. I can tell by his actions and reactions that he has so much to say. And yes, we have tried a device in the past, but it was clear he was not ready. And he has always been in that gray area of having some speech and really TRYING to speak. Of course we don't want to discourage that! But at the same time I want him to be able to get out what he needs. He is doing amazing with his adapted spelling in school, has mastered matching most of his letters both lower and upper case in ABA. When I read to him I point to the words, I have the closed captioning on when he watches a show because I have the sense that letters make sense to him- I could see him learning to read just by exposure. And I am open to a device for him- because of his continued speech efforts, I am not willing to call him nonverbal, and I will never give up on verbal communication- but I want him to be able to express himself- and if a device is the bridge that he needs, so be it.
His building frustration reminds me that we are dealing with a very whole, very intelligent little boy who probably wants to throw his hands up and tell us all where to go many times each day. I can't even begin to imagine how annoying we must be when we just don't get it.
We are getting there- man is this a curvy, bumpy ride but this child teaches me something new every single day. And my critical thinking skills and nonverbal communication? Through the roof!