Wednesday, October 12, 2011

She wants more applesauce!

When you have speech delayed toddlers, a new sign language sign used spontaneously is wonderful. We still get really excited when Princess or Angel triplets choose to sign "more" rather than simply cry for attention. While Sunshine triplet is moving forward and adding new words to her vocabulary every day it seems, we're still waiting for the same "light bulb" to click on with our other two.

At the last play group though, Angel triplet blew her teacher, Tripped Up Daddy and others away. She asked for more applesauce - "Mo appa." It was as clear as day. For the parent of a speech delayed toddler, this is a major victory! The same day, Princess triplet had a victory moment of her own during a diaper change. Her daddy said hi to her and asked her if she could say, "Hi Daddy." She replied by mimicking his words.

Needless to say, those communication efforts are wildly praised by us and everyone working with the girls. I do know that the girls probably attempt to speak and communicate more often than we even realize. Sometimes it's not clear enough for us to differentiate from the typical toddler babble, sometimes it's simply too soft, and sometimes we're just plain too busy to notice. But we really try to give as much positive feedback as we can to every attempt we recognize.

I think my first real introduction to speech delays or milestone delays in children was through a movie when I was young, Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love. It was about a family who had a third child (a boy after 2 girls) and they discovered he was autistic. Back then, autism was not nearly as well known or understood as it is today. The parents were working their own therapies with their son, Raun, because they weren't happy with the accepted forms of therapy out there at the time. For some reason, that movie stuck with me (I wasn't even a teenager when I saw it) and I'll never forget the moment when Raun actually asked for juice. The father, at work, received a phone call from his wife to say their son had asked, had communicated in his way, to ask for juice. Her husband got so excited that he left work immediately to go home, explaining to his boss that his son had asked for juice, while his boss looked at him incredulously saying in his wake, "and you have to go get it for him?"

For us, the "Mo appa" and "Hi Dadda" moments were just as big. We're moving beyond making sure we have solid eye contact to being able to expect some real verbal communication. I think all three of my triplets may really be talking soon!

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