I am going to shamelessly brag about Seren!!
Seren is non-verbal. This means that she has not developed and speech, and in Seren’s case, she has also not developed any speech sounds. When “typical” children are developing, they coo, make mama / dada / baba sounds, and by the age of a year old or so are often saying their first words. Ava, for example, could say Dada and point at her daddy when she was 4 months old. By 6 months her baby babble was well defined and by a year she had around 30 words, but not clearly spoken (ie she would say “bir” for bird, “ca” for cat, “doh” for dog etc). Seren has not followed this normal pattern of development and has (to date) only been able to grunt and scream. All of a sudden, almost out of nowhere, she has begun to make a real effort with saying things. She seems to have bypassed the essential part of babble development and has gone straight on to trying to make words.
Although they are (mostly) completely unclear, she is trying to copy the pattern of sound. So she is trying to say “tumble” (because of Mr. Tumble) but she kind of says “buboa”. She is trying to say “bag” but manages “ba”. I can’t tell you how proud I am. I often hear the saying “music to my ears” but I have never really understood it before now. Hearing Seren trying to make words really is music to my ears – glorious, happy, amazing music that I could listen to every second or every minute of every hour of every day. I am so very proud of her. This stage of her development has been a long time coming. She is almost 2 years and 5 months old and we were beginning to wonder if she would ever speak. Some people with Down’s syndrome don’t and we thought Seren might be one of them… on the other hand, I have heard time and time again that children with Down’s syndrome can learn to talk much later – aged 7, 8, 9 years old.
So this weekend has been huge for Seren. Usually, after breakfast I go over to Seren in her highchair and ask her if she has finished. If she has, she signs “finished” and then “down”. Yesterday, I was over the other side of the kitchen when she shouted “Mama da, mama da!” while signing “down”. I knew exactly what she was doing – she was asking me if she could get down. I was so shocked!! I screamed and squeezed her so hard her eyes were out on stalks… I hope I haven’t frightened her so much she never does it again!! So we are making progress… it is going to be a very long road, but I am now hopeful (cautiously) that Seren will speak, and that one day I will hear her say “I love you mummy”.
Check out my girls on this little home video clip, and see Seren trying her best to make sounds and play Simon Says with her big sis Ava – CLICK HERE