Tonight at dinner, I very unexpectedly found myself sobbing into my tofu scramble.
You see, in the past 5 months since we have been working with our new team of Early Intervention Developmental Specialists, they have been using picture cues with Dylan. He hadn't been introduced to these in the past. But now, both his Speech Therapist as well as his Educator bring with them a set of many different pictures which they use to help Dylan make choices. During the visit, they will pick out 3 cards with pictures of different toys on them. They will then set up the first Velcro card that reads, "I" and then the second one that reads, "want". They will say and sign "I want". Dylan will then choose a picture card of the toy that he would like to play with and will place the Velcro card after the word, "want". Together they will say and sign, "I want (whichever card Dylan chose, for example "books"). "I want books."
Once Dylan is done playing with that particular toy (books), he will take the Velcro card (a picture of books) and will place it at the end of the sentence that reads, "All done". They will then say and sign, "All done books.".
This is repeated for every choice and is done each and every time his specialists are here. Recently it has appeared as though Dylan is definitely grasping the concept and yesterday was even beginning to initiate the process a bit.
Over the past couple of days, I have noticed a drastic improvement in his motivation to imitate all words. His ST noticed as well and as I read her notes from yesterday, I see that this is so. She wrote, "He showed some great strides in his communication. He was trying to imitate almost every word and was really looking at my mouth and touch cues for clarity....".
So anyway, dinner...
Tonight Dylan and I sat together eating our dinner while Cassidy played with her toys. Apparently the meal that I had made for Cassidy, the same one that has been enjoyed many, many times by her before, was yucky tonight and was not worth eating. So I sat sulking, frustrated, thinking about orthotics and why it is that getting a prescription for a larger pair of them for Dylan had to be as difficult as it was proving to be, when, out of nowhere Dylan said, very clearly, "I". I looked up at him as he clearly signed while attempting to say, "want". I couldn't believe it. I put my fork down, covered my mouth with my hands and waited. "Ball". He said a sentence. He said a sentence! He communicated what he wanted with no prompting whatsoever. He wanted a ball and he told me so in just those words. "I want ball".
I couldn't believe it! "Oh my gosh, oh my gosh", I just kept saying over and over.
I was so surprised!!
I sobbed into my tofu scramble and it is hard now to explain exactly why. But I know that in the moment it just felt so huge. Huge.
Once we regained out composure, I tried to get him to say it all over again. It's certainly not exactly what it was the first time, but still...