16 June 2010

Loving a Silent Child

In my head, I call Camden my Silent Child. Although he is fully aware and comprehending of the world, it is still hard for him to express feelings, thoughts, anything abstract. He can tell me the color of something almost all the time (he has trouble with the color grey, who woulda thunk it?), he can tell me what something is (sometimes surprising me at his knowledge), he can count. He can even pretend. He likes to cook playdough foodstuffs, if he's wearing his fireman outfit, he'll put out fires. Last week he was in his bath, and I heard him making his bath toys talk to each other: he'd never done that before.

My Silent Child. He talks. He tells me very basic things about his day. He tells me if he wants something, what he wants. Last night he asked me something and said "pleasepleasepleaseplease" which made me laugh, because he'd never done it before.

He's further along than he was. But his progress is still happening at a snail's pace. He's four years old; strangers should be able to understand what he's saying more than half the time. I can only understand him (without him repeating what he says over and over again) about half the time. People who don't know him or don't spend very much time around him have almost no chance of understanding what he's saying. While this is hard for me, not being able to understand my child, I can only surmise how difficult and frustrating it must be for him, to not be understood. And the worst part is that there's nothing I can do about it that I'm not already doing. Reading books, playing word games, speech therapy, praying, asking the gods for assistance. My Silent Child, who is slowly finding his sounds.

I don't know why I posted about this, except that it's been running through my head for the last week though, my worry over his speech. And writing is cathartic.


  1. This post made something in my heart ache. I know exactly how you feel having lived it myself. When my big boy started school almost two years ago he spoke in single words - probably i could count the number of words he said on one hand. Those words that he could say were only understood by the people who were with him every day. I know that sad sort of desperation i feel from this post where
    by you find yourself asking 'what more can I do?' and the answer is nothing. You're a fabulous mum doing a fabulous job. All you can do (as you already know well no doubt!) is keep giving him oppurtunities to practise his speech.
    Until my big boy started school his speech was almost non existant but he was a complete angel. When he started school it was really difficult for him to the point he couldn't handle it and would lash out at passing people without warning. It was an awful period. He quickly got a t.a working one-one with him for the whole time he was in school and now, nearly two years on, my baby is talking in sentances! They would still be unclear to strangers and are sometimes difficult for me to understand, but he's doing just fine. Now that he can express himself the behaviour in school is also starting to get so much better too. It seems ridiculous to say this and I'm sure if you're anything like me you get fed up with people saying this but - it almost happened over night. All of a sudden something just started working. Hang in there, your little angel will get there. I was thinking about this recently when looking at my younger boy. Seeing how easily my youngest is getting on it made me realise again how hard my big boy has fought for all the ground he's gained. My heart goes out to you and Camden for how much harder he has to work for what comes so naturally to most because I do understand.
    We found makaton signing really gave our big boy a way to communicate - have you tried this with Camden? We also made the big boy a communication book. It was made up of laminated (wipe clean lol!) pages - e.g a page of his family and friends, a page with all his favourite activities and toys, a page of places he regularly visited, a page for items of clothes... you get the idea, all bound together with a piece of ribbon. So that when our big boy was struggling to communicate verbally or he didn't have the makaton sign (or when he was around people that didn't understand makaton) he could use the picture to tell people what he wanted, or had been doing etc. It was his treasured possession and we just added pages as we felt things were needed.
    This isn't forever, he'll blossom in no time at all. Einstein didn't talk until he was 8. Or so our speech therapist was fond of telling us lol!
    Love to you and your gorgeous little boy,
    Nellie x

  2. Camden will be fine. Time takes care of many things. The main thing is, he has a loving parent. Love goes a long way in taking care of lifes road bumps. X.

  3. Thank you both for your comments. I know that he'll catch up eventually, it's just a little wearing until that happens.


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