David was slow to talk, so we bought learning DVD's for him to watch and we also read a lot to him. He always loved books and was fascinated by educational TV shows. He gradually started building a vocabulary but didn't really have conversational skills. If I asked him a question, he'd repeat it back. This was echolalia his teacher explained to me. I would say, "David, do you want a glass of water?". He would answer, "want water." I would ask, "Do you want to go outside?" He would answer "want to go outside." I would say, "Do you want to watch TV?". He would answer, "want to watch TV.", and so on.
At this point in our journey, I was reading about ways to stimulate the brain and one thing I found was a recommendation to include Omega 3's for the brain. Since the boys were young and didn't swallow pills, I found a strawberry flavored fish oil liquid supplement at Whole Foods and every morning my husband and I coaxed and/or forced it down with a medicine dropper. Many mouthfuls were spit on me and it smelled nasty. But every day we managed to get some in them.
It must have been about 6 weeks after adding this supplement to their breakfast routine that we began Christmas break. I asked David, "Do you want to watch Rudolph?" And he said, "Yes." (Writing this is making me cry). It is such a small thing, but to us it was huge.
I am not a good writer. I've always wanted to write a book and I even have a couple of stories in mind but keep getting stuck. But my son, well that's another story. David, who didn't speak until he was four, and didn't begin conversing until he was 5, wrote a story called A Small Man's Journey to the Big Apple in 6th grade for a 1000 word a day challenge in English Class. With his permission, I am sharing the beginning of his story...
Chapter 1: The Origin of Mr. Hopnoggin and Mr. Torture
A young boy was playing in the playground. His mother was watching him because this particular boy was accident prone. Suddenly he tripped and fell on the concrete. His left knew was bleeding uncontrollably. He bawled loudly and his crying screech was heard by all his neighbors. His mother quickly drove him to the doctor's office. Waiting in the waiting room, he bawled so loud, it interrupted an important check-up with the doctor.
After a few minutes, but to the boy felt like an hour, he was allowed to be seen.
"Mrs. Ninenburg, the doctor will see you now", the nurse told her.
Little Henry, as he was called, was brought to Dr. Saldzillle. "Whate seems to be the probleme?" Dr. Saldzille asked in a thick Italian accent.
"Once again, he seems to have a cut. But this one is enormous!" Mrs. Ninenburg said.
"Well, I'd saye you shouldn't let him playe outside for a day or so and lete the cut heale." Dr. Saldzille told her.
He was soon brought home and watched television while he was eating.
"Mommy, why can't I go outside?" he asked her.
"It's a long story Henry" his mother answered.
Young Henry's mom left to go on a few errands. So he stayed alone in his house. It was a comfortable house. The hallway was filled with paintings of old relatives. Antiques were all gathered in one room. Jewwelry was protected by a vault with a combination. Credit cards were scattered all over his dad's room. They were a very rich family.
He was watching his favorite television show on his flat screen TV. While eating, he leaned back on this chair. The chair creaked and fell back. His head hit the floor with a hard thud. His brain hopped around like a pinball in a pinball machine.
David thinks the story is too simple and is working on something else that he won't let me see. His seventh grade teacher is so impressed with work he's been turning in this year that she wants to look into getting some of it published. This boy amazes me with the things he can accomplish when he puts his mind to it.