On Being Preverbal and Learning Our ABC’s

Young children with apraxia of speech who don’t talk yet are considered preverbal, not nonverbal.

Cari Ebert Seminars

The other day, I saw the above quote on a post on Instagram and my first reaction was “That’s Solly!” If you’ve followed us for awhile, you might know that, until this point, I’ve referred to Solly as nonverbal even though he has a growing vocabulary of words. This is because his speech is very delayed and in most social settings, he does not use many words other than “hi” or “bye”. Moving forward, because we are seeing his expressive speech develop more and more each day, I will only refer to his speech development as preverbal, or as the post went on to describe someone similar to Solly, “minimally verbal.” This is a very appropriate description of Solly’s developmental stage right now!

Speaking of being “preverbal”, we started to focus on the alphabet in our homeschooling curriculum last week. (Long story short: even though Solly is in “kindergarten”, I started him on a pre-Kindergarten curriculum to make sure he gets a good foundation. We’ll work our way towards a kindergarten curriculum, with a goal of starting that in the Spring.) Even though Solly’s words are really flowing right now and he tries to mimic so many other words that don’t easily come to him, I was shocked when our first go at reading the alphabet was this:

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Always Celebrate the Inchstones

img_1608I’ve been working on a few new posts about our life in Los Angeles, but Solly just hit a new inchstone and progress is always a good reason for a quick update.

Last night, Solly started holding and drinking from a handle-free cup completely independently! It’s not perfect: he’s still making a mess with it, spilling water from the cup about 80% of the time and sometimes forgetting to bring the cup upright after taking a drink, but we can now proudly say that Solly can pick up a cup off of the table, bring it to his mouth, take a drink, and place it back on the table.

This is a huge accomplishment, especially for a kiddo who the NICU doctors once said would never eat or drink by mouth. We’ll continue chipping away towards all of Solly’s milestones, but today, we’re celebrating this inchstone and Solly’s progress.

Roanoke: One Week In

Hello from Roanoke!

One week ago, we packed up a U-Haul and drove 6.5 hours (well, 8 hours, really, thanks to Bea’s insistence that we stop every hour to get out of the car and run around) to scenic Roanoke, Virginia. No, we didn’t move here – at least, not permanently. We’re continuing our nomad lifestyle and have uprooted our family – dogs included – for 4 weeks so Solly can participate in a constraint intensive therapy at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute (VTCRI)Continue reading

An Addendum: Walking in Target

Moments after I published yesterday’s blog post, I received the following text message from Solly’s nanny who was with Solly at Target. I thought it was too cute to keep to myself:

If you ever want to feel better about life, take Solly to Target in the morning. He was mesmerized by a solder, saw his Target BFF (the lady standing next to him in the photo below), and he fell in love with a man who encouraged him and gave him knuckles. Not to mention, every person that walks by him says hi and smiles at him! Oh, and this little kid came up to him and started talking to him! It was so adorable. Literally the whole store walks by and encourages him.

Like I’ve said before, the best way to start a conversation with someone who has special needs is to simply say “hi”. Or, you know, cheer and give words of encouragement when you see a cute kid working really hard to walk in his walker. Inclusion is awesome.

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Verbal Or Non-Verbal, That Is The Question

Is your child verbal?

How would you answer this question when you can understand the handful of words that your “non-verbal” child has and know that he can answer yes and no questions with 95% accuracy? Man, oh man, I struggle with this.

Sol’s language center was completely wiped out by the three strokes he had at birth. We’ve always firmly believed that he is not cognitively delayed and that he understood everything we said to him, even though his expressive speech was severely delayed. He started to have words after we did our first round of hyperbaric oxygen therapy and his expressive speech has exploded since we did stem cell therapy back in March. To date, we figure that he has somewhere between 20 – 30 words, has just started stringing 2 words together, and, like Bea, will speak in his own language. (Sometimes I think Bea understands him as I will frequently find the two of them conversing back and forth.) Continue reading