Thursday, January 20, 2011


Well, my husband is my perfect partner. That sounds terribly sappy, but it’s true all the same. I would not trade him for anything. I think we combine in a way that makes amazing, sweet, smart, kind children. However, those children do not have typical language development.

Ava has been the main topic here because we’re dealing with her diagnosis of apraxia, but that story actually begins with Michael. My pregnancy with Michael was completely normal and full term. Natural, uncomplicated birth. Healthy 8 lb, 6 oz. baby boy. He did have rather severe newborn jaundice which wasn’t well treated, but that’s a story for another time. He screamed for months. I kid you not. Somewhere 6 months in or so I remember asking my husband if he would ever be happy and awake at the same time. I was worried even then. He didn’t make eye contact. He was more interested in the lights or ceiling fan than in faces. We didn’t get the smiles or coos. There was very little interaction. Almost no babbling. He didn’t even make vowel sounds until 8 months of age. When he’d play with toys he was more interested in the screws on the bottom of the toy than in actually playing with it. He wasn’t interested in turn taking games like pat-a-cake. Red flags were everywhere and a speech-pathologist I saw them. But I was a new mom and insecure, and no one else seemed to be listening.

He had no words at his one year pediatrician visit. Our pediatrician told me if he didn’t have three words at his 15 month visit we’d begin testing. He had three- barely - at that visit and they all had come in that week. (Ava was born, incidentally only 2 weeks after that 15 month pediatrician visit). When he did begin talking, his first sounds were very atypical. He had /k/ and /g/ and enjoyed making clicking sounds with his mouth. I was very concerned. And about more than just his speech.

And then it just clicked. The words came more and more quickly. Ten words, then 50, then more than we could count. Two to three word combinations came between 20-22 months of age and he was using 3-5 word sentences at two. At three he’s pretty much completely intelligible to strangers and using long sentences with complex structures and vocabulary.

It was our own little miracle. A breathtaking relief. And the experience completely colored the way we looked at Ava’s development.

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