In 2010 I brought home the most beautiful little girl. She had a mind of her own from the start. She was born three weeks early. She was a little yellow, and a little under weight but healthy and all mine. I watched her meet all of her milestones up until she was a year old. Then I watched her milestones slow down. I watched my beautiful little girl lose the few signs she knew, I watched her babbling stop and heard her become silent. That is a parents biggest fear.
At 18 months, I saw so many signs in my little girl. She was just like her brother in so many ways. She didn’t enjoy interacting with her siblings. I thought this was because her brother has social skill issues, that if I put her in preschool this would change. So I spent money I didn’t have to ensure that she had social interaction with her peers. I hoped that the signs I was seeing were not leading me down this road once again.
She started flapping, she started lining up her toys. It looks like it would be normal until you look closer. We joke that little girl makes her lines so pretty, yet inside I am crying NOT AGAIN! YOU HAVE TO BE FREAKING KIDDING ME! She has amazing eye contact and is social with adults and children older than her … they say those two things disqualify her for an autism diagnosis. This also means we get no services. She is one point too high in two areas for help.
I have spent hours fighting to get her therapy and even more hours working one on one with her while the older two kids are in school on speech sounds. Around two and a half we got speech sounds. Then unintelligible single words with gesturing. These things didn’t happen over night, but after hours of work. For every step we took forward, we would take a few steps back as well.
This past week we have seen a huge development. Spontaneous speech. Thats right, not just echoing, but actually words with intent. We also have had a lot of functional echoing. This makes me hopeful. This reminds me that gains are not accidents but a result of hard work and dedication. Even if lil girl loses her words again, I know they are in there and one day I will hear them again.