I have been meaning to write about this for a while. Not only for personal reference, but to see how far we have come.
It's about my littlest dude, Eli. The one that we tried to conceive for over a year, the one we found out about on Valentine's Day, the one that melts our hearts with his smile.
He's wordless. He does talk, but in his own language. Lots of sounds that you can't make out. Believe me, he is loud and fiercely independent. Only says, "dadadada", to hear himself. Only says, "maaaa" when he needs my attention RIGHT now. Makes the sound of his favorite thing in the whole world, "choo choo". Just recently said. "ishy" for fish when we were at the store and wanted to see the fish. Sometimes we will get, "Z" for big brother Willsy.
He communicates in his own way, taking our hand to what he needs or wants. Opens the pantry to show us what he would like from there. Goes to the fridge to let us know he wants milk. He is very consistent with these tendencies and I'm glad for that. Hence his fiercely independent nature.
We noticed his delay, when he stopped saying the words he had already picked up, like mama, dada, einstein, and bites. At his 18 month check up, we discussed this and decided that we should look into getting speech therapy for him. It took a while to get everything set up, but Eli is now getting therapy three times a week. He sees a speech, developmental, and an occupational therapist for an hour each week. I will say that there has been a definite improvement developmentally and emotionally. He loves to be held by us, get tight bear hugs, and loves to give brother hugs. Although, the speech is a slow process, you can see him trying. He does not like to sign, so I have pretty much given up on that. I try to get him to talk more when he is wanting something from me. Usually that means that I do not respond to his initial request right away, and he gives in and grunts, mama.
I am not going to lie or sugar coat this, like my heart has been trying to do. Autism has been brought up by the pediatrician and shot down by the occupational therapist. She doesn't believe he is on the spectrum. He emotionally connected with her, gives her great eye contact and was engaged. Autistic children tend to be in their own world and want things there way. Routine. Eli does have some "autistic" tendencies like tip toe walking, walking on surface that feel "different", loves routine, and sensory seeking. All his therapists at this point think he has a severe sensory disorder which has caused most of his delays.
I am doing anything and everything I can to assist him on this "adventure". I have made him a weighted blanket, which helps sensory seekers focus more. Also, thinking about starting a little weighted blanket business to help little ones. (More on that later.) We do a drop in play at our rec center to get all the wiggles out. Rock, run, jump on couch cushions and our new trampoline. All in hopes that we will get some words out of our little guy.
My heart is heavy most days. By the end of the day, I'm exhausted. Eli is a challenge. But, I wouldn't trade him for anything in the whole world. He is my little love bug, who gives me a smooch when I put him to bed. His smile brightens up your day. And when he runs to you after you have been gone, there is nothing like it. I am bound and determined to help him through this. This is our journey.