Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Kiss them, love them, hug them

We've created a monster.

Our pediatrician left us with some not so thinly veiled threats at J's 18 month well baby visit. She decided, given J's limited expressive language abilities, that if he wasn't learning and saying a new word per day by October, we would be forced to take steps, such as hearing testing and screening for the dreaded autism. All this despite the fact that he completely passed autism checklist we filled out during that visit showed zero warning signs. All this despite the fact that J's comprehension of words is vast and his ability to respond to language, both verbal and physical, shows no problem areas. All this despite the fact that J can hear an airplane far overhead, a dog barking three blocks away, and distinguish between the sounds of the garbage truck, the husband's motorcycle, and every other car on the street. I think she is trying to drive me crazy!

But we were cowed enough to try something, and we decided to go with Baby Signing Time. I argued that even if he didn't come up with more words verbally on her time line, perhaps that fact that he communicated in sign would mollify her a bit. Assuming, of course, that he learned to communicate using signs.

Well, the results were dramatic. The day after watching the first DVD, J learned the sign for "time." Subsequently, he learned "eat," "more," "bird," "book," "wash hands," "soap," and "clothes" in rapid succession. Suddenly, he was able to ask for more chocolate milk, tell me when his shirt was wet, and point out birds on the porch. It helped that right about this time he also learned to nod yes. Our whole world of communication has expanded in a flash.

Unfortunately, there has been one unintended side effect of our methods. Heretofore, J watched little to no television, the occasional 5 minute episode of The Pink Panther on Hulu or bits and pieces of Burn Notice while we ate notwithstanding. However, now that he has realized that there are kid-oriented shows out there, all he wants to do is watch DVDs. He uses the sign for "time" exclusively to request the signing time videos, and he starts requesting them as soon as he wakes up. And he keeps requesting them...ALL DAY LONG! At night, in my nightmares, I hear the songs over and over and over again. It's almost more than I can bear. But hey, he's communicating, so it's worth it, right? RIGHT????

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