When I arrived from work yesterday, tired and worried sick with lots of thoughts in my mind, something melted my heart so much that I momentarily forgot all my worries.
My wife was not yet home from work and so I knew that I would have to make dinner for the family. That thought alone doubled my fatigue because, well, I hate cooking.
On walking into the house though, my 3 year old speech delayed kid who was watching the TV with his elder sister quickly left the TV. He ran to me at the door with this irresistible smile of his, hugged me as he quipped ‘Baba, Baba…’ endlessly.
He then walks me to their bedroom where he yanks the face mask off my face, walks me back to the sitting room and proceeds to ask, “Kukunywa chai?”
Now that is Swahili for ‘drink tea?’ (It is what he says when he wants tea)
At first, I thought that he meant that he wants me to serve him a cup and I was just about to tell his sister to pour him a cup. But then, his cup of tea is on the table, half full.
So, I toy with the thought that he might actually be intending to serve me some.
I say yes.
He pushes me to a chair.
He runs to the kitchen where he comes back to the living room with an empty cup.
He proceeds to pour me tea (with the help of his elder sister of course) from the thermos flask that was on the table.
That melted my heart.
It really made my day.
Why I feel that his is one of the late talkers success stories
Last night’s incidence forced me to remember the far that we have come with this boy.
I remember days when I would be so worried looking at the boy and wondering why he will not just catch up with his peers in terms of language development. Everytime I would visit a friend and see a child younger than my son talking, I would be quick to ask, “ How old is your child? When did they start speaking? What did you do to make them speak that fast?”
And people would try to assure me that everything was okay. That the boy would finally speak. There was even this group which went on to tell me that even Einstein spoke very late.
But I did not want any of these assurances. I would trade off his brilliance with speech. Any day.
Autism Assessment and trying the Nemechek Protocol
There was also that time when I delved so much into reading on autism that I was convinced that he must be on the spectrum. Because let’s face it, he seemed to display echolalia, poor eye contact as well as poor social skills.
Was he really a late talker or on the autism spectrum disorder?
Though most people were of the opinion that I just wait and see what would pan out, I decided to try another approach.
I wanted some form of early intervention.
And so I took him for autism assessment. We were however told that he is alright. His hearing, eye contact, social skills were alright, said the lady speech therapist. Just simple speech delay caused by too much TV and the fact that we seemed not to talk a lot to him.
But I was not convinced yet. So I bought DHA fish oil, inulin and extra virgin oil. I put him on the Nemechek protocol.
Things did not improve and I was frustrated because getting those products shipped from Amazon to my country was damn expensive.
Trying Speech therapy tips for Receptive language disorder
Then I chanced to see articles and videos on receptive language disorder and it really got me thinking.
Could my kid be battling with this? Could it be that he hears everything I have to say but does not understand anything? I decided to be more simplistic in my conversations with him.
Somehow things improved.
I also felt guilty that I had given him too much screen time when he was young.
There was also the fact that we are in a bilingual home since my wife speaks English to him while I do Swahili. It could be causing confusion.
What has really pushed the needle in this late talkers success story?
When schools resumed this year, I felt that I needed to take him for day care sessions where he would meet other kids. Before that, he would stay with the house help watching TV all day.
I am happy to note that for the past three weeks that he has been attending these day care classes, the boy is a tad chattier. And it is not like they do a lot at the day care center. No, just simple play, saying ‘present’ when the teacher calls them out, sleeping and eating.
Yes, just that.
Today, he has so many things to tell us in the evening. Most though are incoherent but we still listen to them and show that we are attentive.
He has also learnt to use the potty to pee. Anytime he gets the urge to do so, he stands, walks to the potty, pees and then goes ahead to pour the contents into the toilet bowl.
For poop, we are honestly not yet there. Well, he feels the urge, removes his trousers and does it on the floor. And then goes to an adult and says ‘poo poo’ pointing at the small mound. But we pushing on yet.