I think I started getting tensed up about my son not talking when he was barely two years old. There was just something about him that made me a little bit suspicious.
Why was he not calling me daddy?
Why was he not responding to his name when I called him? Why was he not following instructions?
Why was he not asking for tea but rather directing me to it and pointing at the thermos flask in the kitchen?
Why was he not eating avocados? Why was he not eating apples?
Then my sister who had just graduated from the university with a degree in special education visited. She noticed that the boy was very playful and would hardly sit down to watch tv. He would be jumping from one sofa to the other. She said that he might have ADHD.
But there was just something that seemed amiss in how she addressed the situation.
I went out to Dr. Google and asked, ‘Why does my two-year-old son not talk?’ The results were frustrating.
Most of the websites said that he might have autism. I clenched in fear.
At work where we had a special education center, I had seen kids with autism. 14-year-olds who would not talk. 6-year-olds who would have to carry bags of stones every morning so that the teachers could contain their hyperactivity.
I had read at gemiini.org that early intervention could always help so that things do not go awry.
I went down to do serious research and read all forms of studies on autism.
My wife and I decided to take him to a day care program where he would meet other kids and socialize with them. It was good because he picked words such as ‘Keep quiet’, some Christian baby songs here and there and a prayer before food (which he still conducts for the family even today).
When the pandemic hit and we had to work from home, I knew that I had ample time to spend with him and monitor his speech development. My wife was also ecstatic about the same. But he would not be able to attend the day care program anymore. So, it was him, his sister, mother, and me.
I bumped into the Nemechek protocol, and I remember ordering the ingredients and spending all the pennies I had in my pocket to get the inulin, extra virgin oil and DHEA oil. I remember administering the protocol to the boy and waiting for his awakening.
It never happened. It was frustrating.
I went through all forms of Youtube videos and implementing whatever new strategy I gathered.
My wife organized these play activities where the boy learnt alphabets and numbers that he literally memorized 1 all the way to 100. But then he was still not communicating on other matters of the house. I was afraid that he was hyperlexic and it was stealing away his speech in other daily activities since he was too much engrossed in his alphabets and letters.
We bought him all forms of toys but he was only interested in building blocks which he would arrange neatly. He also had a love for number and letter toys.
Towards the end of the initial total lockdown, I remember taking him for a shave and the meltdown he had on walking into the busy shopping centre with motor bikes riding, cars hooting and the welders doing their thing. The boy froze. Cried and refused to walk into such a mayhem of activities. I shed a tear.
I remember too how I held him in that barber shop because he simply would not take it, having that contraption of a shaving machine roaring on his head.
We decided to take him for autism assessment, and it was not easy since the speech pathologist seemed to be booked all week round. When I finally got a date, I was caught up in work engagement and my wife had to go there. She was told that the boy was ok. He just needed to be in the company of one househelp who spoke one language (we had so many since his birth, speaking different languages).
It was peaceful to hear that he was okay but again, we still needed to work through his speech.
A silver lining in the dark clouds
When schools opened, the first thing that we agreed on is the need for him to go to school. So, we took him to a preschool. It took time for us to notice any improvement in his speech emergence but gradually he has been developing it. It is interesting how he remembers so many things about school, his classmates, friends in the village and songs we did three months ago.
Is he hyperlexic?
One month ago, I was testing his Math skills and I was surprised to find that he knows what 20+20 is. Or even 100+100. He is just four for heaven’s sake! I do not know where he is picking all these from!
At four nearing five, he is still not yet at par with his play mates. But we are grateful that we can hear his voice and he really tries to express himself. Though he is stubborn and will at times not take instructions, we know that his hearing is okay.
In starting this website and collaborating with Esther Wells, my wish is to help other parents who might be going through what I have gone through. That I might help them from a parent’s perspective.
We know that living with your special needs child can be hard. That’s why we created TheMonterabbi to give parents helpful tips on how to live with their children who have autism spectrum disorder or cerebral palsy. We also look at how to do speech therapy at home for late talking kids.
You deserve the best life possible, and so does your child! Check out our site today for some great advice on living with your special needs kid.
Here is a free gift to parents of late talkers. An ebook written by a parent whose child was a late talker and they were worried stiff that they were autistic.
Soon, they realized that it was just late language emergence. If your child is suffering from this Einstein syndrome, grab the ebook by signing up here:
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Let’s talk about autism!
It is something that most parents are living with in their homes but shy away from talking about. They would rather talk of other things like how their children are developing holistically, how they beat others in the soccer game, how they did well in the SATs.
But autism is here with others.
And it manifests itself in different ways from nonverbal to poor social interaction, kids doing one task repeatedly and not having empathy. There are also those who have sensory overload and will therefore avoid going to concerts, parties or rowdy places unless they have headphones for autism.
In our blog we also talk about how to differentiate between late talking vs autism because they are two very different things. Sometimes, a doctor might label your kid as autistic while in fact, they have the einstein syndrome.
We also talk of things that might be delaying your kid from expressing themselves verbally all the way from overdependence on tech as well as simple language delay.
Other than autism, we also look at cerebral palsy and we are trying to explore how to better their quality of life as well as give their parents a piece of mind.