It’s been a while since I did an update on Nicholas and since we have some big things coming up for our little guy, I thought now would be a great time to paint you a little portrait of Nicholas at 18 months.
But first, let me tell you about the issue at hand. Nicholas has a significant speech delay at 18 months and we just started Early Intervention with him. At this age he should have at least 6 words. He really only has 1 though: ‘dara’. He calls me and my husband ‘dara’. Occasionally he will say “dada” clearly, but most of the time it’s ‘dara’. Sometimes he’ll say ‘eeeee-uuuuh’ when he wants Gia and he just started saying “woah!” and “yay!” this week. But mostly he points and grunts to get what he wants. He babbles, but he doesn’t imitate us, no matter how hard we try. He knows many animal sounds and he tries to say them when we ask but everything sounds the same. Try to say “moo” without moving your mouth and you’ll get an idea of what he sounds like when he tries to say moo.
So, as soon as he turned 18 months we had him evaluated through New York State’s Early Intervention program and the results were just as we suspected. The speech therapist and special education teacher both agreed that he is extremely bright. He tested at a 22 month old level pretty consistently, except with expressive language (aka speech). In that area he’s like a 12 month old.
Hearing that your child truly has a delay is not an easy thing. In this case, it was bit of a double edged sword for us. Of course we don’t want to hear that Nicholas is anything but right on track or ahead for his age, but the fact that professionals recognized what we thought we were seeing was validating. And the fact that he can get help right away is a huge relief. There is no doubt in my mind that, with a little help, Nicholas will catch up in no time. (As we begin therapy I’ll keep you all updated on his progress!)
The other good news is that Nicholas’s receptive language is very strong. So, he understands everything we say to him –which we knew based on our day to day interactions with him. He follows two step commands already (go get your shoes and put them on; go get a ball and bring it to me, etc) and he constantly keeps us on our toes because he is always listening to what we’re saying. One night a few months ago I told Gia she could have an ice pop after Nicholas went to bed. He ran over to the freezer and pointed and jumped up and down until I gave in and let them both have ice pops. And, if he hears me tell Jon I have to go to work, he runs to the front door and starts to wave. Aside from being so cute, it makes me feel so much better to know that he understands.
Until we have a speech update, here are some things our little troublemaker can do really, really well.
- Nicholas has a big personality. He’s funny, silly and loves to laugh. He loves music and loves to dance and jump around like a silly guy. He loves showing off his tricks. He knows all the body parts, several animal sounds and he knows 4 signs (We’re teaching him American Sign Language so he can communicate with us and it’s awesome.) He can sign more, all done, help, and thank you. The signs have helped so much with his frustration level. Instead of screaming to get out of his high chair he signs ‘all done’.
- He wants to be a big kid so badly. He follows Gia everywhere and just wants to do everything she does. If she has a juice box, he wants one. If she has a snack, he steals it. She’s pretty patient with him most of the time and he keeps up pretty well for a little guy! He also loves brushing his teeth, feeding himself with a fork and a spoon, pretending to talk on the phone, taking off his socks and shoes, putting sunglasses on himself, and just generally getting into everything.
- He absolutely loves being outside. He likes to roam around our backyard, jump on the trampoline, swing on the swings and climb all over the slide. He asks to go outside the minute he wakes up in the morning and he makes a beeline for the yard any time we’re on our way to the car.
- Speaking of the car, Nicholas is in that lovely stage where he will not sit down so I can buckle him in his car seat. He likes the car and loves going places, but he will not sit without a fight. The only way to get him in is to have food handy. I distract him with it and then buckle him in really quickly.
- Nicholas is very agile and coordinated. He climbs anything and everything, he knows how to blow bubbles, he jumps and gets both feet off the ground. He loves watching Gia do handstands and cartwheels and the thinks he can do them too. In reality he bends at the waist, puts his hands on the ground, and then falls and rolls. It’s very funny.
- He loves to play. He engages in pretend play very well and loves to feed dolls and push them in a baby stroller. He can still keep himself busy for a while if he’s interested in a toy. He also loves cars, blocks, things that have buttons, and things that let him practice fine motor skills (the fishing game, sorting games, etc).
- He’s becoming less shy and more willing to move away from me when people he isn’t familiar with are around.
- He is so affectionate and it melts my heart. He puckers his little lips and gives the sweetest kisses. And if he’s not in the mood to give you a hug when you ask, he leans his head in just to not leave you hanging.