What's crazy is that Cris was Race's first Speech Therapist four years ago. When he was two and a half, and I started noticing a few delays, I had him screened for speech. At the time, we weren't even considering autism, just a speech delay. Well, he qualified and that is how we met Cris. When he turned three he qualified for speech through the school district, so we lost touch with her. Now it's been a year since we got the diagnosis officially done and since then, she has been in our home once again. We love having her back.
In August Race tested at four years six months for his speech levels. This was really hard for me for two reasons. The first was that I'm always worried people will judge Race's intellegence based on his speech (he blows me away in his academics), and the other reason is because Witt has always been VERY verbal. I was afraid of what would happen if or when little brother passed big brother. How would that be? How would it work? Well, Heavenly Father makes brothers brothers for a reason is all I can say. And he just so happen to give Race a fiery red headed brother who is exactly what Race needed. Witt is amazing with Race. They are best friends. Witt takes care of Race. In awkward social situations when Race gets treated "dumb" or teased, when Witt is there, he gets very protective. This is even without us explaining autism to him. He just knows he needs to take care of his bro. It's pretty amazing to watch.
And Race's speech has come so far this past year. I can't wait to see where he scores in May. It has been such a year of growth for him. He wants to work hard at it. He tells me he wants to talk good. Today, he really only has a hard time expressing himself when he's either really upset, tired, or excited.
The key I have found, is that like school work, speech has to be reinforced in the home (a no-brainer for most of us, but you'd be surprised how many times I heard as a teacher, "Your the teacher, it's your job to teach him/her. Not mine..." no kidding.). We are constantly talking with Race. Even when he is playing the Wii (which is his FAVORITE), we are talking to him about the game.
I used to have this guilt about the Wii. I didn't even want Santa to bring it last Christmas because I knew how obsessive he gets about things (and trust me, Santa and I went back and forth about it). I was afraid he wouldn't be learning while he was playing it. That he would be zoning out when he played. Not that we ever let him play too much, but that since the time wasn't spent doing other things, he would fall more behind. Well I have found that's not the case at all. Like all of us, he needs down time. The games he has teaches problem solving skills that he is excellent at. And, he LOVES to TALK about the Wii. It's so cool to hear him having two way conversation (which a year and a half ago wasn't happening) about things now. A year and a half ago he couldn't keep up with the exchanging, the change in topic. It was too much. Talking on the phone was hard and I was always the interpreter. Well, many of those first solid, two way conversations were about the Wii. He also has this amazing gift with technology he needed to embrace and we needed to let him. It amazes me. He always amazes me.