Tate has had a language explosion as of late. I love how he has these, even at almost 8 years of age. Nearly everyone who works with Tate has remarked about his language. He’s conversing more. He’s able to express himself better. He’s really communicating. This has been in the works for ages…and little by little we’ve noticed small steps forward. Like being able to tell his brothers that he would like to watch SpongeBob and not Pokemon. Like being able to tell me that the pizza is too hot for his mouth…and asking me to blow on it to cool it off. Like telling his friends at school that he likes their shirt/folder/backpack.
As he has built these skills through practice and numerous therapy sessions, it has brought me to yet another place of amazement. I really need to get over that feeling…I mean, I fully expect that his brothers will be able to communicate effectively as adults….why not Tate? He may do it slightly differently than the average bear, but by now we are perfectly okay with that…just as long as he feels like he has a voice and is being heard.
A few weeks ago after his speech therapy session, his SLP said she was going to evaluate him. She felt like he had made tremendous progress in the past year. Last week, he chose to do the “hard” assessment. She ran through the first battery of questions with Tate. He needed to pace around the room and bounce on the stability ball, but he got through the session and the assessment during their session.
He came out of the room, bee-lined for me, and asked if he could use my phone. I let him play with it while I talked to his SLP. She went over what she had done, and roughly, how he had scored. Are you sitting down? Ready? For the first time EVER, Tate tested at age level in one of the areas. He can name attributes of randomly selected objects like any other 8 year old. He scored at age level. Whoooo hooooo! I was so proud of him. His SLP also went over the other sections. His progress is astounding. He is gaining speech so rapidly.
I wish I could go back to that frightened, unsure person that I was in 2008 when we first had him evaluated for speech/language delay. I would give her a huge hug, tell her to keep moving forward and to throw away all of the timelines. To stop comparing him to all the other kids his age. To let him take the lead, so to speak, with his development. With persistence, dedication, and hard work, he’d get there–in. his. own. time.
Tate works hard. He has school. He has therapy. He has daily interactions that test his strengths and force him out of his comfort zone. He is, thankfully, finding ways to cope and succeed. He is learning that society isn’t going to hand him anything on a silver platter. He’s learning that hard work and dedication and being himself and stopping to laugh and spin and flap will get him what he needs in life. He is going to do great things…and I am so privileged to be on the sidelines cheering him on as he moves forward!!