My God, He IS Reading! (Special 200th Post Edition)

[Another event so good it requires two posts!]

We celebrate our 200th post with a monumental achievement by the J-Man. Even though we were quite skeptical before, he really IS reading words!!

We pulled out these ‘sight words’ cards we have, which are basically just flash cards with one word per card and nothing else (no pictures, etc. that might give the kid hints). All we did was hold up the cards one at a time and say “What is this?” or “What word is this?” None of that “point to red” or similar kinds of exercises we’ve done before.

And by God, he read them – a lot of them.

Among those words he identified for us verbally: red, green, blue, yellow, white, brown, black, purple, cat, car, one, two, who, where, out, so, and on and on. (Well, ‘on’ was one too!)

One of the most amazing things was watching him sound out ‘so’. Sssssssss…ooooooo. Wow!

Given his serious speech/apraxia issues, he had to draw from his word approximations to say a lot of them, but he was saying the same things that he would normally say when talking about those words. So we are confident that he knew exactly what he was saying.

And he knew he had done it, too. He was so happy and so proud of himself. That was even better than hearing the words. There’s was so much pride to go around that we all felt 12 feet tall.

To cap it all off, I held up numbers 0-9 to him and he identified all of them, too. Verbally!

We also had two different kinds of cards with ‘brown’ on it, and he picked one up and put it on top of the other ‘brown’. Matching!! He even put ‘brown’ on ‘down’, which left me speechless. He’s a poet and we didn’t realize it! :-)

Mary started working with him this morning while I was having my sleep-in day, and they came and woke me up with him showing off his new words. What a great way to start the day! He kept going all day. We, of course, called the grandparents and had him tell them the words on the cards over the speaker phone. I was doubly impressed that he did something on cue for once!

Talk about jaw-dropping. We had started to have a suspicion or two that he was picking up on words, but had no idea the extent of it. It looks like Rachel gave us some of that good ol’ Signing Time mojo and some encouragement to really follow up on this. Thanks!

This is just how it seems to work sometimes with autistic children. You and your child walk along slowly one step at a time and then suddenly something clicks and they jump 20 feet into the sky and do something you barely dreamed of them doing. You revel in it, and then you start toward the next goal, one more slow step at a time until the next quantum leap happens. No one really knows why these sudden leaps happen, but it seems like they just do sometimes.

As I finish writing this, I’m writing through tears. Those of you who are journeying (or remember journeying) through toddlerhood with your children and all the uncertainty of what they may or may not know and understand, how much or whether they talk, and what the future holds for them will understand these feelings and where they come from. You can get to where you wonder whether something will ever happen, and then when it does, it’s the most amazing thing in the world. We simply don’t know how to take these things for granted; they are fought for too hard.

In a reversal of roles, it’s now I who am speechless.


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