I am observing a day of silence today, as a part of my yoga teacher’s training. The one exception is that we can talk to our children if they are too young to grasp the concept of a day of silence. Yep, that would be Josh. And why would I want to be silent with Josh who spent much of his first year of life and a good part of his second year in silence? So when Josh points out the red fire truck to me this morning and says “rey-yd.” I say, “yes, that is a red truck.” I answer to reinforce his language, I answer because if I don’t, he’ll repeat “red” over and over until I respond, and I answer out of sheer delight in hearing my son finally speaking to me. Oh what a joy. You whose children speak without any thought or effort on your part (that would include me for my first two children), you will never quite know this same joy in having your child venture out to try and speak. Not that you don’t have many parenting joys–just not this same one.
Next week, on the 19th, it will be six months since Josh received his air conduction hearing aids (to replace the bone conduction aid that wasn’t working). I really count Josh’s hearing age as only 6 months. His audiologist tested Josh in the booth a couple of weeks ago with a few specific tasks. The audiologist had a board with pictures of six simple objects (a cat, dog, apple, airplane, and a few others). With his hearing aids in, she asked Josh to point on each object, which he did with 100% accuracy. I believe she was speaking at about 30 db. We took off his aids and she repeated the same task unaided at the same db level. I could tell that Josh heard her voice and wanted to perform but he couldn’t at all make out what she was asking. At one juncture, he just tried pointing randomly. If I needed a visual demonstration to show me how little language was actually getting to Josh before he was appropriately aided, well there it was, right there in front of me. (By the way, gone is the mild to moderate diagnosis–now we are at a straight moderate hearing loss).
So, I’ve been keeping track of Josh’s new words. He’s really been adding words (or approximation of words) rapidly lately. Yesterday, I added the 100th word into the journal where I track Josh’s issues (my only version of a baby book so far)– in particular, language development, behavioral issues, food issues. He has started to put together a few spontaneous (as opposed to coached–he has been coached to say stuff like “more wa wa”). The other morning he said “help down”when he wanted to get off of the changing table. That was all his own combo. I’ve read that 100 words is often the break through point where kids begin to string together more meaningful communications. As I’ve learned in the past, Josh doesn’t always follow the typical path. But we are hopeful.
Break the silence Josh. We are ready!