In November of 2011, I wrote my first “real” blog on WordPress. Back then things were crazy stressful and I was not dealing with Caleb’s issues very well. I mean I was being proactive–teaching him signing and making appointments with specialists and so on. But inside I was screaming for answers. I used to have nightmares of him being bullied by other kids because he couldn’t talk. I was terrified that he wouldn’t have a good school experience…he deserved one! Life for kids who are different is hard without throwing the differentness of school activities. So the journey began.
Speech therapists and occupational therapists checked him over, spent time getting to know him and watching him in his play environment. It was determined that he was delayed. Why is not really known but at 18 months he only had the communication level of a 10 month old. Let me tell you what life was like with a kid who couldn’t tell you what he wanted. All we would do was cry and stomp feet and get no where. Cupboards would get emptied looking for the cup he was wanting, only to have them all thrown on the floor. It was not fun. Enter sign language.
WOW! That made a huge difference….I took an ASL level one course (am planning on finishing them all one day) and started teaching Caleb, Brian, our friends and family words and signs so that we could all talk with him. It was such a relief. He learned colors, numbers, letters, words for things like milk, water, apple, toilet…small basic things to help get us going.
Soon after that we took part in a musical therapy class. He LOVED it! Not to keen on loud noises but over all he loved the music, fun games and learning songs….all with signs 🙂 We started having discussion about pre-school and managed to get him into a program called Discovery Pre-School. This was not the first choice but because Caleb’s needs were not that extreme they thought a class that would get him out of signing and into forming words would be best…I was nervous but ok with it.
Fist day of school…he looked so small with his back pack on.
He really liked school…mom took some getting used to sending him off in a cab every morning, but it got easier. He grew and grew so much. One evening we were sitting in my sister in laws basement and Caleb came out with a word we had never heard him use before. It was around Halloween he had a fun day at school. He showed his auntie quite proudly his “Tattoo”. I almost fell over! We had him say it over and over…it was funny! It was then I started to make a list of all the words he started to say and try to keep track of when he said them.
By the middle of may he had reached 100+ words. I was blown away! When we had his final review for the year with his teachers, it was decided he would go back to the Discovery Program and we would begin working on putting words together into sentences, 3 or 4 words at a time to begin with and then grow from there. We also planned to work on some social skills in preparation for Kindergarten the following year. The summer would prove to be interesting….
It was almost like a switch turned on. He wouldn’t stop talking! He was asking questions, making phrases, being social! Before school started again he had already met one of the goals–3 or 4 word sentences. We worked on making them a little more clear and eye contact. The second year started off great and he was excited to get back!
And now the year is almost over. We just had his second last review and I was informed there are only 12 weeks of school left. 12 WEEKS!!! His teachers are so impressed and proud of all the progress he has made over the last 2 years. So am I! I have had a number of conversations with God through this entire process. Some of them very angry and bitter. Some of them pleading for him to just get it. Friends and family have prayed and shared encouragement and have been willing to learn with us along the road. It has been one crazy journey…at the end of the meeting it was agreed that Caleb can go to regular Kindergarten and not need any special programming. They feel he will be just fine! For the first couple of weeks there will be an aid assigned to the class, not just for him, that will be there to help get him into the routine and bridge the gap with the new teachers. But other than that, he is on his way! I am so happy and relieved and full of JOY for my little boy!
We’ve come a long way baby…We are all so very proud of you!!