“My Story…” Monday: A – What He COULD Do.

(You can catch up on A’s story right here: The Pregnancy, The Birth, The Infancy, The Quiet Toddler, Advocating)


The background I’ve given you so far has told you a lot about my precious son.  I’ve revealed that he was huge (he’s still crazy tall), loving (he’s still a snuggle bug), and didn’t talk at all (which is happily no longer the case).  That last one is very important and is at the center of this whole saga.



I had a giant boy with thick hair.  He looked significantly older than he was.  But he did not talk at all.  Let me tell you this:


People- too many people- are very insensitive. And, as I juggled supplemental oxygen and tube feedings with my darling premature daughter, I also fielded nosy inquiries into why my son didn’t answer the questions they lobbed at him as we stood in the check-out lane.


“How old are you?  What’s your name?  What toys do you like?  Do you go to school?”


Over and over.


What made it worse?  As they grew frustrated that he “wasn’t answering them”, I grew frustrated because… he WAS. By 2 1/2 years old, A. had over 200 signs in his vocabulary.  His language comprehension was just fine.  He understood questions and would sign answers.  Perhaps it wasn’t that he didn’t understand what THEY were saying… they just didn’t understand what HE was saying.


Our little guy could sign quite well.  He could make requests, answer questions, and even “sing” little songs.  He picked it up quickly.  This wasn’t a huge surprise to us.  At eighteen months, he had known all his letters.  Oh, no, not that sweet little toddler singing where they know the little ditty and spout off “A B C D…”  While that is adorable and certainly a sign of learning and mimicry, it shows little true understanding of what the letters ARE.  Our son couldn’t sing the ABC’s at all.  But he could point to any letter you named.  More intriguing than that, he could point to any letter if given the sound it made.  If I asked, “what letter makes the ‘kw-’ sound?”, he would point to the Q without fail.  It was an interesting thing to observe.  And also kind of maddening.  Somehow we knew, though we didn’t know how to prove it, that A. had all sorts of knowledge “trapped” in there. Quite honestly, it’s amazing that he wasn’t an angrier, more frustrated child.  But he wasn’t.  He was happy and sweet-natured.


He just jumped a lot.  A LOT.   Jump jump jump.  I still don’t have all the answers as to why my boy was born with springs in his feet, but jumping met a very real need for him.


Anyway, so there we were.  We had this big, loving child who everyone thought was slow.  This sweet, ever-bouncing son who some people thought was deaf.  This silent little boy who knew so much more than anyone would ever guess.


We just hoped the speech therapist would be the key to solving the puzzle.


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