He was making progress with his ‘wh’ questions in language therapy. Really awesome. He had finally figured out that a question is a prompt for an answer.
No, he doesn’t differentiate between who/where/when/how unless the subject or object implies a certain response. But the Back-and-forth of questions is a big deal for us. Very big. For a little boy who acknowledges his name 20% of the time to take questions as a prompt for conversation… is just… wow. I guess unless you’ve lived it you can’t quite understand.
It’s had us all in giggles.
Then suddenly last week we noticed something was wrong.
For all of last year and part of the summer he worked on prepositions. On. Under. Over. Behind. Paper prepositions came easiest. Pictures. Cutouts. Drawings. They came first and rooted the strongest.
Then we made our way up the ladder. Paper laying down may imply different prepositions than paper on the wall. “Under” moves, you see.
Then there are prepositions with objects. Putting the tiny Lego Michaelangelo behind the 3-D Lego house is a whole new perspective. Did you know it was this complex? It can be. For a child with language disorders these nuances that other children just naturally absorb… don’t always absorb.
And then there’s the belly whopper of prepositions. 4-D relational. The toy is behind him. Behind. HIM.
That was tough. Behind him wasn’t a general area. It was a mystic place in the sky. One that evaded him as soon as he turned around until he was just turning in circles. Where was this curious place we hid his toy? He would be so confused.
It was funny when he was 1. It was hilarious at 18 months. Not so much at 4. When you know it’s a problem.
But this summer before he turned 5 he started getting it. Finally. We could direct him verbally to an object he was looking for and he could find it!!! Pride in a child’s accomplishment may be a bit different for a Spectrum Mom, but it’s still pride in a child’s accomplishment. Hard. Earned.
And so we moved on to ‘wh’ questions. The bane of so many spectrum families. And he just started sailing through them.
Cue angels singing.
And that’s when we noticed. He lost the prepositions. He totally had them. He HAD them. A year and a half of work and he HAD them. And then they were gone. Not completely but so much so that I could feel myself physically shrinking under the worry. Some of his expressive prepositions are there still. The simple ones. Sometimes now he will understand receptively he is asked to perform the expressive ‘put this on’ something. The rest? Gone.
It’s okay to feel that wonder bread knot in your throat choking you now. I know I did.
And since I’m always afraid of being that skiddish/paranoid Mom I asked Grandma if she noticed. She had. And was worried, too.
So yesterday I was hitting up the SLP’s with questions. Getting tips. Reeling in my connections. Panicking. Trying to break down possibilities. The causes. Track the next steps. Worried. Panicked. Scared. Overwhelmed. Sad. Panicked. Did I mention panic? It’s a great one when anything resembling regression or loss of skills pops up. Just. Great.
And then I had to go to school, because that’s what I do. And I’m sitting there in class trying to listen, trying to pay attention. Trying not to be distracted by anything and everything. Because it only takes one little chip off a porcelain cup before it starts crumbling. And my attention is fragile.
When it was time for the eclipse, I was grateful for the break from class and I ran outside to look. I blinked. I looked. My eyes watered. I blinked and looked again. Until I could see it. There was this tiny little bit of rock (aka the moon) blocking out a part of the sun.
And here’s where I’m about to get profound thoughts.
Where I stand there realizing that the moon can only block part of the sun because it’s closer to us. Because that big, freaking ball of fire in the sky could swallow the moon WHOLE if it was actually next to it and we wouldn’t even see it go.
And I thought about the sun. How I don’t run outside to look at it and marvel at it and stare at it until my eyes water and my head aches. Ever.
Yet there I stood. Staring at the eclipse.
Because, from my view, a huge chunk of the sun was obliterated by the moon.
And I realized that’s what we have right now. With my boy.
A small, tiny thing in our lives was taking the glory that IS our lives away from me. The glory of him. The brightness of all the amazing things he has done and accomplished. The awesomeness of his determination. The strength of his will. Him. My sunshine.
Preposition loss eclipses ‘wh’ questions. Eclipse him. My son.
And my profound little mind decided that our eclipse was just a thing to look at. To notice. To address. To work on, yes. But not to be more than that. Not to panic over. Not to see instead of him.
I could either focus on it or focus on the sun.
So here’s to sunshine.
Not that you can tell from the pic. But I could tell.
Because I looked at it. 20 minutes before it was safe .
Because I’m a rebel.