Signing Time

Intrepid readers of this site (if there are any left), may notice that I haven’t yet given any updates on Rory’s burgeoning vocabulary, as I did with Callum here and here. It’s not just because I’ve been so busy, what with two kids and all. It’s because Rory, at 22 months, doesn’t exactly have a burgeoning vocabulary.

We’re not seriously worried about him, especially not about “the A word,” because he’s super cuddly, interactive, and seems to understand most everything we say in a simple way. He can point to things in books, when asked. “Where’s the crocodile?” we prompt, and his little fingertip immediately pounces on the green toothy creature in his favorite book – Dora saves the Little Duck. But not a single word has passed his lips. He sometimes says “uh oh!” and there’s a lot of “dah” and “buh.” Still, no “mama” or “dada” or anything particularly resembling a word.

Anyone who knows me (or who read the title of this post) will wonder why I didn’t try teaching him sign language. Well, I did. Of course I did. And, every once in a while, we’d get a sign out of him. He’d say “hat” or, occasionally, “milk,” but he somehow didn’t “get” that he could express himself, either with sign language or with words. Until yesterday.

Yesterday, the dam broke. He was outside with his father and Callum. Michael did the sign for “water” and Rory did it back. One sign led to another. Turns out, the kid knows, and can do, TONS of signs. Besides “water,” he knew”milk,” “dog,” “apple,” and “bath” right off the bat. It’s like he was just soaking it in all these months. You can imagine my reaction, I’m sure. I was beaming, laughing, clapping — so relieved he is learning to express himself… finally.

In the last few months, we’ve had him evaluated twice and he’s finally qualified for speech therapy through early intervention, so we’ll continue to pursue that. But, what a relief to see him say these words we’ve been teaching him all this time. Our little boy has words, at last.

3 comments… add one

  • Zach

    Fantastic! What an incredible moment.

  • My cousin was very much the same – more or less totally mute. Then, at 2 1/2, he opened his mouth and said (much to everyone’s delight and bewilderment), “it’s cloudy out and it’s going to rain.”

    • Pamela

      That’s wild, Rebecca. I think when Rory’s talking explosion comes, it’s going to be pretty significant. Already he’s asking (by pointing and making a quizzical noise) for the names of lots of things that I wouldn’t expect him to be interested in yet. I think it’s just that mostly he doesn’t see much of a need to say anything — either in words or sign language. He manages to get his point across well enough. Someday he’ll feel the need to communicate something that’s a little more complex, however.

Leave a Comment