Now I’ll be the first to admit that something this significant requires equally significant evidence to convince me this is really happening, but there’s at least something interesting going on here.
J-Man has a picture book – one of those baby-oriented ones with one picture per page. Over time, he’s enjoyed looking at these sorts of books off and on, though not much lately and not really taking any initiative to point out pictures and tell us about them. A couple of days ago, though, he picked up an old favorite that’s been ignored for many months and started telling us about the pictures, which of course we think is great. Then we noticed something he’s never done before.
He started pointing to some of the words rather than the pictures and then saying the word for it. Now admittedly he has the visual cue of the picture right above it, so this might not mean anything beyond identifying pictures, though that in and of itself is a cause for celebration especially since he’s intentionally looking at us to share that experience with him.
Then this evening he was watching Signing Time (bow when you read that), specifically the episode about food. This isn’t one he watches that much, though it’s all relative since we’ve seen every episode lots of times (some many times more than that). The sign for ‘cook’ came on, Rachel talked about it, then he said his word approximation for ‘cook’, and then Rachel and the gang did their thing about that.
Then, the next word flashed up – ‘kitchen’ – and before anybody on the show said a word or did anything, J-Man said something that sounded for sure like he was trying to say ‘kitchen’. Now this could be him memorizing the show, but really this is one we haven’t watched that much and I don’t recall us having watched it in a while.
Still, we know that J-Man has a great memory for books and songs. But his ability to identify letters both on their own and on many occasions within whole words (e.g., point to the ‘a’ in ‘balloon’) is also very good. So, the jury will remain out on this. Mary and I wondered about this word recognition possibility independently, which usually means something around here.
All that said, I can’t recall a time when he’s preemptively said a word before Rachel does on the show. He’s more either a try-to-repeat-after-you-say-it talker or a will-fill-in-the-word-if-you-give-me-many-seconds talker (or he’s just passively watching it and not talking at all). Being this quick to a word with no cue other than the word on the screen and the word before it is something new.
So, who knows. Whatever it is, his speech, his ability to more readily get word approximations out, and his willingness and ability to initiate some speech to express his needs or just to say something interesting have all been showing great improvement lately. However it’s happening, we’ll take it!