My darling son said his first words recently.
For six years, he has listened to language swirl around him while having little to no opportunity to participate.
But last week, he called his dad who was in the middle of teaching a high school math class and said: “Hi dad!” He said it loud and clear while his teacher, mom, and dad cried, and high school students in math class cheered in the background.
It. Was. Beautiful.
Did my son’s vocal cords speak the words? Not exactly. Instead, my son used an eye-gaze communication device to make his voice heard.
The days since the device came have been a whirlwind as our boy delights in scrolling through words and phrases and locks his gaze on an icon to make the words bellow out.
While he is still learning the device and has a lot to learn before we can hear his deepest thoughts, it has been pure magic to watch him answer questions and express needs.
I thought the best part of my boy having his communication device might be no longer wondering what my son is feeling or needing.
As a mom, it is heart-wrenching to know my son is unhappy one day and not know why.
However, my favorite part of hearing my son speak is when he pulls up the communication board entitled “Jokes” and we hear the same phrase over and over: “Do you want to hear a joke?”
He will click the same icon repeatedly until we come into the room and assure him that we indeed do want to hear a joke.
He then proceeds to tell us the same cheesy joke we have heard over and over again.
Every time, he anticipates and delights in our laughter.
It is a gift to know that my son can tell me what he needs, but it is straight up breath-taking to watch my mischievous boy be the jokester he always has been—just much more loudly.
My son is thankful that he can tell us when he needs repositioned or feels sick.
But when he tells us a joke, he comes alive in a way I used to dream about.
Language is of utmost importance, and every human deserves the opportunity to access it. But language is so much more than an expression of words.
Language is an expression of who God created a person to be--the unique pieces of personality, emotion, and being.
I am beyond thankful to share in this most precious gift with my son.