Last Monday we got a note from my Little’s teacher that said, “Watch the video on the iPad.”
This is the first time his teacher sent a video home with him so, curious, I had Little play it for me.
In this video, Little is sitting in a CSI-like room. He is instructed to say his own name. He smiles and says, “Sssss.”
Per usual. This is all he’s been able to get out in response to that question for the past year. And even THAT was a breakthrough for us.
But the video didn’t end there. In it, Little pauses, takes a deep breath, and SPEAKS THE REST OF HIS NAME!
Then, HE REPEATS IT! Clear as day!
I’m sorry y’all. This is a HUGE deal! Let me explain.
Little was born on time, and developed either ahead of schedule or right on time until about 20 months or so. He could say his name, said 2 to 3 word sentences, could say the alphabet through J, and was even sounding out pretty complicated Russian and English words. Then he stopped. We still don’t know why. In all the testing we’ve done, we haven’t had a positive diagnosis for anything. They’ve tested him for autism 3 times. He’s been evaluated at Boston Children’s Hospital. He’s had an MRI, 24 hour EEGs, and endured countless questions. He had “abnormal activity” in his frontal cortex, but he wasn’t having seizures. He fit the bill for autism, except his social skills were normal. He passed all the tests for autoimmune and genetic conditions. My child is a medical mystery it seems.
Needless to say, it’s been incredibly frustrating. With each passing year, we had very little improvement. My child was almost completely nonverbal and had developmental delays that no one could explain or fix. Four years of speech and occupational therapy later, and Little was still not saying much. He had about 5 words in his vocabulary year after year.
About a month ago, my husband was reading an article about a little boy that had a condition eerily similar to our Little. That boy had a condition called dyspraxia. It’s a brain based condition that makes it hard for a child to plan and coordinate movements. That includes speech. Since we were exhausted with doctors in general on this issue we decided to read up on it. We don’t know if he has this condition, but Little fit the diagnostic criteria pretty well. The great thing is, we were already doing all the suggested intervention steps. Speech therapy, check. Occupational therapy, check. Lots of outdoor physical activity, check. Computer with word recognition and speech software, check.
So if we were doing everything we were supposed to be doing, why was Little not improving?
We kept reading. A couple sites suggested changing the diet. Gluten free, raw food, etc. Which seemed like torture for all of us, but we decided to jump down the nutritional rabbit hole anyway. Instead of cutting out gluten completely, maybe we could add something to our diet to detox or supplement? Since I hate anything that involves pills, powders, or medication, we started looking at “brain food.” Foods high in omega-3, vitamins, antioxidants, etc.
With some brainstorming, we decided that we would make and drink green juice. Three weeks ago, we bought a juicer and started adding a few ounces of green juice to our daily food intake. Since we’re wimps, it’s been mostly carrots, apples, and lemons to mask the taste. But in that tart sweetness is a bunch of kale, spinach, and other greens.
We figured it couldn’t hurt.
Fast forward to today. My son is sounding out words while reading books. He accurately told me to go “left” and “right.” He wanted “that, Yes please.” He wanted the kite to go “UP” and “down.” His favorite things are “Legos,” “ice cream.” “brownies, ” “strawberries,” and the “beach.” As well as dozens of other complete words, clear recognizable words. He is repeating words and initiating speech unprompted. All of these things are new and significant changes in the past 2 weeks.
Why is my son improving suddenly when we’ve made virtually no progress in the past 5 years? Maybe the juice is a coincidence. I’m not ruling it out. We’re not doctors, or nutritionists. Maybe he was going to improve naturally right now anyway. Maybe the speech therapist started doing something differently and it all clicked for him. Maybe having a complete family unit is helping somehow.
Maybe it doesn’t matter.
Whatever it is, it’s working right now.
Tonight, my seven year old son told me, “I love you” for the first time after bedtime prayer. I have tried SO hard to get him to say those three little words. When all the ladies in my old Bible study complained about how their little never shut up, I just wished to hear him say, “I love you mama.”
Today, he did.
To me, THAT is a miracle, and an answered prayer 5 years in the making.
Originally published at www.daretowalkonwater.com.