Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lines of Communication

One of the key features of Liam's PDD-NOS diagnosis is his delayed communication development. At 2 years and 7 months, he has less words he says regularly than I can count on both hands, and most of them can only be interpreted by us. They don't even sound the same every time. He doesn't point to things, or look where we are pointing. He doesn't understand most of what we say, except for limited words, and some signs. And he does not babble or put sounds together or make noises that sound like they could be words, most of the time.

However, we have spent the last year learning to communicate with him, and learning how he communicates with us, through trial and error, and sometimes through sheer luck and happenstance.

Daddy has been away for the last 4 days for work, and was gone for 7 days a week and a half ago. Liam loves Daddy. Not just any kind of love a kid has for his Dad. No, Daddy is the favorite, preferred over all other human beings on the planet. Daddy's absence is felt by all, with a vengeance. Liam has made it clear this week especially how much he misses Daddy, and I have become aware just how deep the connection may be. It also makes me rethink the lines of communication between them.

Twice this week, Liam has led Grandma to our bedroom door, saying Dada (one of his few words), and upon being let in, climbed on the bed and lay down in Daddy's spot with his head on the pillow for a few minutes. I suppose he was breathing in the lingering scent. Then he tried to bring Daddy's clothes out into the living room with him.

Last night, Liam woke at 2:30 AM and had to be brought into bed with me. He fell back to sleep, but then woke for the day at 5:30. Upon informing my husband of this, he told me he too woke up at 2:30, very alert, and did not know why. And his alarm was set for 5:30 this morning.

I'm not usually a big believer in other-worldly things or fate or whatever. However, there does seem to be a deep connection, or bond of communication, that ties my husband to his only son. And perhaps it is indeed related to the fact that Liam has such limited powers of communication. He can't use his words to tell me how much he misses his Daddy. He can't tell his Daddy he loves him on the phone (although he can kiss the phone when I put Cliff on speaker, which he did this evening). He can't even communicate his frustration or anxiety to me in a way I can understand and soothe, except to be cranky and difficult until Daddy comes home on Monday (yes, 9/26, it's forever from now). But it means something, and it plucks at my heart strings.

- Adrienne

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