So it happens.
She can talk.
But she doesn't.
Is she nonverbal? Limited verbal? We never get a real hard-line definition. We tend to say nonverbal because even,on the occasional instances when she does talk, "Hi Daddy" is more like "Eye a-eee" - kind of like the real words without consonants.
So it does happen. But it takes a very careful, tuned-in ear to decipher it.
And usually, we hear one or two real words one day and then nothing for weeks.
Babbling constantly, surely.
But true words are rare.
True words were rare.
Yesterday, Millie had a regular therapy session at our house. We were all sitting around the kitchen table, discussing feeding strategies, communication ideas.
She was babbling pretty well, even trying a few almost-words here and there.
We had spent about 20-30 minutes, just having one-on-one time (or actually one-on-three, if you count the therapists), reading books and encouraging communication.
Eventually, after reading the Disney book a few times, I asked her to point to a cat.
She pointed to a cat.
Then, I heard a very soft, very tentative, "At," under her breath.
I asked her to find the frog.
She pointed to the frog.
I heard her nearly whisper, "Ah. Ah," as if sounding out the vowel sound.
I asked to her find Baby Mickey.
She pointed right to him And then turned around, on my lap, and gave me an immediate, enthusiastic thumbs up.
"I found him! I did it!" she said, very happily, very proud.
Clear as day.
(OK, again, the consonants weren't really truly there, so it was more like an "Eye un im! Eye ih ih!")
So maybe it wasn't really "clear as day," but there was no mistaking what she said, what she was trying to say.
And she beamed.
We had our evaluation yesterday afternoon, about five hours later, about whether she would be a good candidate for an assisted communication device.
We got to play with the device, I got a lot of information, asked a lot of questions and watched to see how Millie would respond to it.
She loved it.
I won't say she immediately understood that the icons correspond to real-life objects and situations. But we were letting her explore the options under a "bubbles" screen. So we had real bubbles on hand. She would choose "I want to do it" on the tablet and then she would get to blow (or try to blow) bubbles with the real-life wand.
She would choose "I want to pop it" on the tablet and we would help her pop the real-life bubbles.
She got it, I think, after a while.
And then became incredibly interested in the tablet and what else it could do, like explain Christmas traditions ("I want to help decorate the Christmas tree" and "Is it time to open presents?" or "I don't want to go to church" (which both made me laugh ... and wince)).
Later, she was playing on one of "emotion" screens and she selected "I love" and then "mom" - and then turned around and gave me a hug.
Was it purposeful? Coincidental?
I don't know for sure, but I bet you can guess which one I'm letting myself believe.
- Bethany :)