Today my son did something that made my heart sing, he said "bubbles" (it sounded like "buba"). At the age of 4 he should be saying much more than "bubbles" but with his significant delays it has taken 3 years of therapy to get him to say "bubbles, mom, dad, more, and eat". These few words are great accomplishments for my little guy and I tear up every time he says one of these words because he doesn't use these words everyday. But after the excitement wears off the same question pops into my head...will I ever hear my son speak; really speak? Even though I am assured constantly that he will indeed speak and be able to communicate, I can't help but to get a little anxious to hear him.
Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) is what my son was diagnosed with. For those who are not familiar with that disorder it's basically a severe developmental delay that is on the Autism Spectrum, but he has no symptoms of other disorders on the spectrum. Just a severe delay. Couple that with a sensory disorder that has him so sensitive to tastes and textures and visual stimuli and you've got my little boy. A sweet little guy that's very loving, doesn't talk, doesn't eat solid foods, and can become over stimulated. Oh, and did I mention he's not potty trained and is allergic to all nuts and dairy? He's not lactose sensitive or intolerant, he's allergic. If he even touches dairy he breaks out into hives and sometimes throws up. Add all that together and what you've got is a very hopeful, very overwhelmed, very tired mother.
I love my son with everything in me, but I admit that his disorders are getting to me. I want so much for him, I want to see him gobble up a plate of food, I want him to be able to enjoy trying new flavors and textures. I'm waiting anxiously for the day he'll actually have a birthday cake and eat some. My baby boy is 4 and has never had a birthday party because it breaks my heart that he wouldn't have known it was his birthday, let alone eat a piece of cake. And I'll admit that I was also concerned that he'd get overwhelmed with all the attention and have a meltdown. When we've had a get together at home he has gotten overwhelmed and over stimulated and the only remedy was to put him to bed. He'd prefer to go to bed early than to be amongst all the excitement. Not only was I protecting him from any unnecessary meltdowns, but I was protecting myself from having to watch it helplessly.
What I want most for my boy is to be able to communicate with him. I want to hear his little voice so bad that I've dreamed about it. More than once I woke up crying because in a dream I saw my son eating or heard him talking. The talking dreams are the ones that would haunt me for days. At first I thought the dreams were a sign that he'd speak soon, then as time dragged on and the dreams became more and more frequent, I realized they were actually wishful thinking. I know at some point he'll be talking up a storm and I'd wish for a moment of silence. But until that day comes I will get teary eyed at the sound of "bubbles".