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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Good Questions. Keep Them Coming.

Bubs 1 asked, ''Does the sun sleep in the clouds?'' That's a good question.

I am always wondering what the bubs is thinking. He doesn't share his thoughts all that often, but when he does, he asks some damn good questions. I do my best to be an active listener, because there was a period of his life when he wasn't saying a thing. As I look back, especially now that Bubs 2 is here, I'm beginning to realize that Bubs 1 was also quiet in other areas of his life. Bubs 1 didn't have the bounce, that his little brother has, when he was Bubs 2's age. Their mom and I understand that siblings can be different, but this isn't that.

It was at his second-year checkup, when his pediatrician asked his mom and me, ''How many words is he saying?'' Bubs 1's mom and I starred at each other. We wanted to quickly say that he knows over 60 words in sign language, but that wasn't the question. Bubs 1 was only saying two or three words at that stage, but the bench mark called from many more.

His pediatrician offered us the phone number to Birth to Three so that we could have the bubs assessed for developmental issues. A week later we learned that he had a speech delay, which can be an indicator of autism. Sure enough, one year later there was a diagnosis of borderline PDD-NOS.

His mom dived in and called everybody. She accessed, and continues to access, all the resources available for Bubs 1. Not too long after working with him, Bubs 1's ''talking'' began to increase leaps and bounds. My guess is that he was struggling to get the words out, but couldn't. We had to push him to do it. The help we found taught the bubs, and his mom and me, how to encourage his talking - even demand it.

I've likely said the phrase, ''Use your words'' to Bubs 1 a hundred billion times, over the past two years.  He finally did. I feel lucky. Bubs 1 is filling his gaps successfully and gaining ground on his peers. He impresses his pre-school teachers with his clever vocabulary. He is expanding on his imagination. He will pretend too.

I remember watching Bubs 1 on a local playground. He must have been two and a half. He was standing with other kids on the play scape. I watched him struggle to communicate with the other kids. He didn't have the words. Instead, he yelled. The other kids just starred at him. Bubs 1 was acting "different." That's why his mom and I didn't question his ASD diagnosis that, which we learned a few months later.

A few weekends ago, and nearly two years later, we found ourselves on another playground. I clicked a picture, which captured me. It holds all the words written on this blog post. It's one of my favorites, because it shows how well Bubs 1 is progressing. He gives Bubs 2 all the attention that his little brother demands, including pushing him on the swing. It helps Bubs 1 to have Bubs 2 around. Bubs 1 is currently teaching his little brother about "sight words" and colors, on the Amazon Kindle. What better way is there to understand something than to simply apply what you've learned? Their mom wanted to have Bubs 2, because she wanted Bubs 1 to have a best friend.

I think it worked.

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