The Right Side of Age 4

b54e8ccc790259672b2664377f5eba00Lately, I have been getting involved with a lot with other Apraxia moms both through Facebook and blogs. I have seen an increase in questions having to do with kids being nonverbal for their whole lives. I know I’ve mentioned on here before that one of the hardest moments of my life was when I realized that some kids don’t talk. Click HERE to read that post.

Cooper has always been so vocal and so loud it never crossed my mind that he wouldn’t talk. When I learned that nonverbal was a possibility it hit my like a ton of bricks landing on my chest. Don’t even get me started on the grieving process. I am still in the middle of it.

One of the questions that tugged at my heart was on the Apraxia Facebook Page. The mom said something like,

‘I know every single kid is different but out of curiosity, how many of your kids are nonverbal? And when did you see the biggest improvements?’

I can safely say that I wonder this same question every single day of my life. How many kids are really nonverbal? Honestly. Give me a freaking number?!?!

I am going to estimate and say there were a 100 responses to the question and out of those 100, maybe 3 had nonverbal children over age 5. This made me so happy. Ecstatic actually. And so many of the moms said they saw huge changes around 3.5 with a language explosion before age 4. I immediately told Jamie and then of course scolded him for not being excited enough. **SIGH** The life of a special needs parent.

I can handle age 4. If you would have told me 2 years ago I would have a nonverbal child at age 3 I would have sobbed. But now, we are on the right side of age 4. That is 8 long months away. We have speech and occupational therapy and even preschool to help. And more time. More time is good.  I just need to hear his voice and I can make it to age 4. I can accept all of the heartache and tears and all of it if he starts speaking at age 4.

This prompted me to ask Cooper’s speech therapist about nonverbal children. I first asked her if nonverbal kiddos are quiet? Maybe this is a misconception but when I think of nonverbal, I think introverted, quiet, non-engaging. Cooper is none of these things. He is loud and sassy and very engaging. She said something like the following:

“Nonverbal kids can be loud or quiet. The key is that the sounds they make are speech sounds and not just screeching and whining.”

That was tough to hear. While Cooper is getting more conversational every single day, the majority of his sounds are still screeching and whining. Ugh.

So, right now, at this moment, I am so positive and excited about things improving. If all these other mom’s saw huge changes between 3.5 and 4 then hell yes I am going to get my hopes up. Why not, right? Especially since he is communicating better every single day. As I sit here typing I just get giddy thinking that Cooper might some day say ‘mom.’ I can’t even imagine it.



3 thoughts on “The Right Side of Age 4

  1. Live in hope right? I’ve sat in parent training workshops when my son was still non-verbal and I heard many similar stories re: speech and when it started. I think it’s good to remember that their is a difference between speech and language and then a difference between expressive and receptive language. I know of one of the children in my son’s school says one or 2 words but echoes what others say and doesn’t understand language and how to use it yet. Another child same age makes many speech sounds but no one can understand….yet. My son had very strong receptive language but could not make his mouth move. The common factor seems to be age….maturity of that part of the brain meaning it’s ready. Another question is the same part of the brain that speech comes from is where gross motor comes from. Once my son got better and better in that area….his speech started. I’ve also heard many SLP’s say that songs help a lot because singing comes from another part of the brain. And yes.,,,my son sang his speech sounds and words first. It’s like his mouth and brain could start practicing:) stay positive but don’t expect big steps at first or an avalanche of words. Little by little:) take care.

  2. Never ever ever stop believing. Four came and went for us. So did 5. Edging towards 6 and still just screams and whining. But I have huge faith in young Cooper. I can’t wait to reas the blog when he calls you Mamma’ xx

  3. I feel the same way. People tell me all the time, “once he starts talking you’ll be wishing he wasn’t!” I politely inform them that will NEVER HAPPEN. if and when Levi gets a handle on his speech it will be the best, most welcome sound I will ever hear. It’s amazing how some ppl think of their child’s chatter as a nuisance at times! I love your optimism and am saying prayers for Cooper to continue those leaps and bounds!

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