We went through a huge speech breakthrough. Syd went from saying juice, juice please, more juice please, to I want juice please. We had Velcro pictures and words all over the house. I used a ring of pictures that she would carry around. If she couldn’t say the word, she would find the picture of what she wanted. The joy of hearing her speaking in a sentence was amazing. It didn’t happen often but when it did happen it was related to food. She was back to saying Mommy, Daddy and Harry. ❤️
Today Syd uses Echolalia. When I say, “Sydney how are you?”. She repeats “Sydney how are you?” I can see that she is processing the question but struggles with responding. After several prompts she is able to communicate how she is feeling. Echolalia has been frustrating but it has been fun too.
Sydney loves to sing, act, and recreate scenes from movies. She’s very animated, dramatic and memorizes phrases. Here are a few of our favorite Echolalia moments.
– We were driving and a car cut us off and she yells “We’re all gonna die!”. I wasn’t afraid of having an accident. I was thrilled that she used the words in the right context.
– She will tell Harrison “I got my eye on you.” When he tries to take the remote control or eat the last of the fries.
– Kayla was late getting to my mom’s birthday party and when she arrived Syd said, “You’re too late Kayla you missed the party now!”
– Now don’t judge. All The Single Ladies wasn’t the most appropriate song for my child to sing but I loved the way she made the following connection. When she heard the song on the radio. She added her own version- If you liked it then you should have put a necklace on it, if you liked it then you should have put a bracelet on it, if you liked it then you should have put earrings on it. I couldn’t believe that she make that connection and could identify jewelry. I asked her what we could add to all of the jewelry and she said a dress and a purse. The diva fashionista was born.💍👠👛👗
The language was there so we used Echolalia to keep her engaged and interact with us. I waited years to hear Sydney say I love you mommy. But I just didn’t want her to just say it. I wanted her to feel it and mean it.
It was Mother’s Day. I love how God works. We were planting flowers and working in the yard because that’s what mommas do! I sat down for a break and Sydney began picking dandelions. She walked over to me and looked me directly in my eyes. She handed me the flowers and said “I love you mommy”. I held her close. It was in that moment that I knew there was more to Sydney than autism.
Update: Sydney’s language has improved drastically. There are times when she still uses echolalia. But not as often. She will greet people and definitely tell you how she is feeling. This week I was reading Helen Keller with my students. I was able to make a lot of connections. This time I was able to focus on how frustrating not being able to communicate was for Sydney. I reflected back on her younger years. All I can say is prayer changes things.