James’ older sister asked a killer question this morning: “Why can’t James talk? Why can’t he say things the way I can?”
We’ve had variations on this subject before, where I’ve explained that he can talk, and that he’s much better than he used to be … that most people do things in their own time and way.
This morning, we talked about how sometimes the parts of the brain that control what we want to say and the parts that control the muscles we use to talk sometimes don’t work right or can’t talk with each other very well. It got me thinking about aphasia and some people having to be trained to relearn to speak. The people who want to use one word, but have another come out instead.
I’ve seen James want to tell me something — I can read it on his face and in his eyes. I’ll watch his mouth open and shut and hear strange sounds come out of his throat. Often, I never get to hear that thought. I’ve seen him blissfully happy, doing his verbal stimming of “Eeeeee-eeeeee-eeeeeeee-eeeeeeeee!” I’ve heard him do some beautiful mimicking, and scripting things he’s heard from tv shows and using them as conversation soundbites — appropriately too.
I wish I could watch what happens to my son’s brain as he struggles to master speech, and understand what is said to him. I wish I has successful progressions to compare it with, so I could maybe figure out a better way to help him not struggle so much to communicate. I wish we could have some of those “why is the sky blue?” conversations.
I am very happy he’s come as far as he has. Three years ago, he was nonverbal. Tonight I asked him to find his dad to tell him dinner is ready and he did just that. I still have questions, though. What can I do to help? Why is it so tough for him? What do I tell my daughter when the next question comes up about why her brother is so different?