The most frustrating thing about 7q11 duplication is the inability of a child with a brilliant mind to share his or her brilliant thoughts. I often look at my 2 1/2 year old and wonder what is going through his head. What would he say if he could make his mouth make sounds? What questions would he ask? What words or phrases would he repeat without ceasing? The understanding and comprehension is there. I can see such comprehension on his face and through his actions. I recognized that a year ago when we began speech therapy with our wonderful speech and language pathologist.
We began therapy a year ago almost to the day. A year ago at 1 1/2 years of age, Snugglebug barely made a sound. It was rare to hear anything at all from him, let alone speech appropriating sounds. We began with sign language, and now, he has a vocabulary over 100 words. We celebrated each word as that was a step toward communication. Then grunts showed up and the occasional repetitive sound. More sounds crept into his repertoire, but nothing significant and yet all building blocks.
In August, we took a vacation and a week and a half break from speech therapy. The second session after our break, he officially crossed over from single sound repetition into multi-sound babbling. The therapist and I were overjoyed, cheering, and encouraging more sounds from him.
A week after that Gabriel said his first official word. PAPA...He was visiting his grandparents, my husband's parents, and called out to Papa in the other room. "Papa, Papa" he shouted loud and clear till his grandfather answered him. Yes, it's official! We have a word!
Then this weekend on Labor Day, while visiting with my family, Snugglebug, who adores his newest cousin, announced the 6 month old, "BowBay" he shouted while also signing "Baby." If he hadn't also been signing, I don't think I would have realized he was speaking his version of the word Baby. Yes, we have another word! BowBay for baby! Again I was rejoicing and jumping up and down and telling him what a wonderful word it was.
So, in one year of speech therapy, we have two words and over 100 signs. If another year of speech therapy gives us 100 spoken words, I will be the happiest mom on the planet!