I was sitting in the waiting area yesterday while Maggie was with her Speech therapist. A fellow parent who I exchange experiences with was sitting next to me patiently waiting for her son to finish up his therapy. Maxwell is 5, about 2 weeks younger than Maggie. He is completely adorable. He has more words than Maggie but for the most part just makes sounds and avoids all eye contact. His mother, Naomi was telling me about how her husband has become increasingly strict and into enforcing eye contact with Maxwell. As we laughed and joked she honestly said "I would be happy if Maxwell would just say he's mad instead of looking away or hitting someone" another woman, not a parent but a PCA, butted in saying "well I would be afraid if what he wanted to say was inappropriate!" Naomi, whipped her head around shot her a look
lady, don't judge and until you've walked in my shoes...
That place where your desperate for any word to come out of your child's mouth
At that moment, Maxwell came from around the corner and like everyday he was avoiding looking at any of us. Mumbling something to himself. Walking towards the empty corner so he wouldn't have to be near any of us. Naomi grabbed Maxwell's arm to put his coat on and instantly he started to get worked up. Annoyed and starting to get physical. Naomi looked at me and joking said
"I wish he would just say, This is Shit Mom!"
We all laughed and thought this cute little boy doesn't even say 'ball' or 'mom'
Naomi got Maxwell to make eye contact with her and focused him long to enough to say
"Maxwell are you upset? You don't want to put your coat on?"
Maxwell looked away and Naomi moved his head around and asked him again
Maxwell looked right at her and said
Naomi was so happy she was smiling and crying. We all were laughing and getting emotional for Naomi and for Maxwell.
The Normal Parent would probably be mortified if their child said a swear word. Embarrassed and probably worried about anything else they might have said that their child could repeat. Gossip, a joke, an unkind description of a person etc. But for a parent of a child with Speech limitations and especially Autism.
We will take ANY word!
EVERY word! Sound. Sign. Anything!
As I see it. The "S" sound is important in many words. Maggie chooses to hiss when she sees a picture of snakes. It makes her super excited and we understand her "S" and that gives me joy that she, on her own, created a sound with the correct word/object (in the word of Speech therapy it's a big deal too)
One day at a time. One word at a time.