Elliot Days

Sometimes my husband teases me that I favor Alden. Not because it’s true, but because it makes me swat him and he thinks that’s funny. It’s natural, I suppose, for me to talk more about Alden since he… talks. He’s funny. Elliot’s funny too, but much more in a “you had to be there” sort of way since he’s not yet really verbal.

Speaking of. Elliot is 16  months old now, and still not saying much. I know. Everyone knows at least one kid who didn’t speak until he was four and went on to be an Oxford scholar or a Disney Mouseketeer or insert-whatever-impressive-outcome-here. I swear I’m not actively worrying. But. At his one-year checkup the doctor said, “His language development (receptive primarily) isn’t quite there. Let’s keep an eye on it.” Then at the 15-month checkup he said that and then he said, “Do you have a history of learning disabilities or speech impairments in your family?” He still feels comfortable taking a wait-and-see approach. But knowing the value of early interventions, I’m done waiting and am more into seeing.

A very nice woman from the early intervention services for our state came and did a preliminary evaluation at our house. I’m amazed at how easy that was to make happen. After a little flailing around trying to figure out who to call, the whole thing just rolled. I didn’t need a doctor referral. All I needed was my own opinion. Nice, that trusting the mom bit.

She concurred that Elliot isn’t where he should be both in speech and receptive language, so now someone else is coming out to do a more in-depth analysis. It may well turn out his problem is too mild to qualify for services, but I’ve been reassured that if that’s the case I will be directed to other resources that can help close the gap.

The problem itself is odd. The best way I can describe it is that he doesn’t do nouns. Weird, I know. But if I tell him to “Kiss Daddy” he will kiss… whoever is closest. His few words are all verbs and exclamations. “Look! Up!” There are a few other oddities. He used to say “Boon” for balloon, but doesn’t anymore. He sometimes sounds a little like there’s something in his mouth, but when I go fishing I find it’s empty. He’s never said “Mama.” Jerk.

He is making progress. “Ball” is a new entrant to the vocab and I think he sees enough of those that it will stick. Balloons can be a little thin on the ground, after all. Also, in the course of one day he suddenly picked up the ability to point to four different body parts after looking mystified about the location of his nose during many months of daily prodding. He’s also, and always has been, very attached and affectionate. And he’s generally happy. I feel like I can stay pretty sanguine as long as he’s happy.

Elliot is exhausted by how much I write about him.


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