Many moons ago when I was just a wee young thing [ eternally optimistic] I was confident that this universal language would be the norm by the time I was an adult. Brits are notorious for the weak language facility, especially when compared to the rest of Europe. I skipped over the need to learn Esperanto myself, as I was having more than enough difficulty with French, German and Latin. I longed for the day when I would understand everyone, no matter how they spoke, a time of understanding and tolerance. No more conjugating verbs, declensions and fiddling about with the past imperative. No more pesky ‘amo, amas, amat.’

I have cause to review my weakness in communication skills, as I examine my son’s Speech and Language evaluation prior to his IEP.

The word that leaps of the page at me is ‘unusual.’ His speech delay is well documented but the words ‘atypical’ and ‘unusual’ keep on cropping up.

When I first came across ‘atypical,’ when all terminology was confusing, I was non-plussed. His kind of autism was ‘atypical,’ as was his speech delay. This description tripped me up initially. I had to keep reminding myself that there was ‘typical’ autism, whatever that might be, and ‘typical’ speech delays, goodness knows what they might be, and then there was my son, the ‘atypical’ one.

His speech pathologist gave him the usual barrage of tests prior to the IEP. From this she produced her report, her detailed report and recommendations based upon her findings. She is spot on in every respect. I scribble all over her report, as is my wont, as my son sidles up to snuggle into my side. I underline the numerous identifiable reasons as to why he sounds so much younger than his chronological age of nearly 8. [when he is able to speak loud enough for anyone to hear him] I also ponder her query regarding the pronunciation of the letter ‘R.’ Is this due to immaturity or the English disease? [ r’s do not feature as prominently in Britishspeak as they do in American English]

“What you are do?” he asks mid nuzzle.
“I’m reading this report from Mrs. B about your speech.”
“It is good it is bad?”
“Good! All good, very good.”
“I is good at dah speech.”
“Indeed you are.”

His feet pummel me, pleased and happy with his performance during testing. He beams with satisfaction, “maybe…..maybe….maybe I don neeed dah speech therapy no more!” I think maybe that depends upon who is listening? [future perfect]

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And then there was light

I pick up the last few bits and bobs so that I don't trip over them in the morning. An assortment of tiny things that are of great importance for junior. At 1 a.m. I fall into unconsiousness to recharge the batteries.

A small figure appears in the gloom to yell “where it is? Da 'glow bit'?” I peer at the LED, one inch from my nose, two inch numbers, which tells me that it is 5:40 in the morning. Horray! They're beginning to adjust to Day Light Saving after nearly two weeks. Instead of waking at their usual 6:00, they changed their allegiance to 5:00 a.m. without so much as a by your leave. [translation = permission]
I run the question through my lexicon: 'glow bit'? What could he possibly mean? I blink but he is a blur without the bifocals. I am unable to glean any periferal information to assist me. I notice that he is po- going at a rapid rate. [translation = jumping up and down in the same spot jolly fast] This piece of information adds to the 'blur' affect but also tells me that he is hanging on by a thread [ translation = near a meltdown due to frustration, barely holding it together]

I need a clue, I need my brain to wake up and fast. I remind myself that this is better than 2 years ago when he was just a silent apparition. It is better than last year where he would appear and promptly explode all over the carpet. Now we have his physical presence, fully equipped with words, which he is willing to share with us, but lack the intelligence to interpret them accurately.

It's definitely a new one, one I haven't heard before. Why can't he keep the utterance of new vocabulary to a more reasonable timetable? [translation = schedule] We could introduce a new campaign! Half an hour a day when he can bludgeon us with his new words, preferably when we're awake. Thirty minutes for introductions to specific new words where he could appraise us of his progress. But no, we have to contend with these dictatorship assaults, and before daylight to boot. [translation = as well]

I trawl through the previous days events for clues, even though I know from experience that the 'new word' may have entered his being at any time during the last 6 months, and only now surfaced to be verbalized. Play with siblings, [translation = brother and sister] [horray he plays!] basket for of library books, visit to supermarket, [translation = grocery store] thirty minutes telly, [translation= reward for task completion {sub translation = doing chores}] Nothing stands out as 'new'?
Not for the first time, I wish I had a twin, or a clone, someone who could be with him every second of the day so that I can keep up, because every moment I miss, leads to additional incidents of failure, where I am stumped. [translation = lost]

I debate whether or not to ask for more information? [translation = further an better particulars] But I can't find my cheer leaders voice. Luckily it's too dark to need my cheerleader face. If I ask a question in just the right way, he might co-operate and answer. But if I don't understand the answer we'll be no further forward. [translation = probably make things much worse and provoke a meltdown anyway] I determine to be brave and risk the fall out. “Can you use your 'good describing words' for me?”
“Yes, it is pink and it is light.” Come on now, two further pieces of information! Use them!
“Er do you mean it's not heavy, small?”
“Yes, dat is right! You are da good one mummy!” Horray! Reciprocal exchange. [translation = a dialogue where both parties exchange information] I play for time.
“Stinky pinky huh!” I tease. [translation = a not so private joke, that makes him giggle and eases the tension.] “Let me see, what can I think of that's pink and small?” I say out loud using my 'thinking' voice.' [translation = lets him know that I'm functioning at half speed but trying]
“No, it is the small and it is the light also.”
“Er…..light? Like a torch? [translation = flashlight]”
“Yes! Good one mummy. You are da great rememberer! I am looking for the new little pink flashy torch thingy that you were buying me yesterday, so that if I was a dog and you were taking me for a walk, then I wouldn't be squished by da cars because da driver, he would be seeing my pink blinky light, but only in da night time when it is being dark.” Couldn't have put it better myself.

Only 2, the cat chewed the other one over night. I hope he didn't swallow it? Well we’ll find out when it gets dark.

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