Thursday, 13 September 2012

The Little Things Mean So Much

'Diversity in abilities forces us to define our own “normal” and allows us to choose what we celebrate.' Anchel Krishna  Today's Parent

I made note of a few language related things that Carter has demonstrated over the past few months. These are things that made me smile, laugh, or say, 'Yes!' They are things that made me realize how far Carter has come with his communication skills, both receptively and expressively.

Take a look...

Being considerate

Taylor came to the dinner table one night, after everyone else. We'd already said grace and had begun eating. As she sat down she apologized, "Sorry I missed grace," she said. Carter responded by pushing the button on his talker that was programmed with our version of grace, 'For our daily food, we are thankful. Amen.' We laughed and thanked him for the recap. He made sure that grace was said for Taylor, too.

Potty humour

Kids would not be kids if they didn't go through the potty humour stage. Jack and Taylor have been laughing, for what seems like years now, about the word 'underwear' and all things related. Carter is right there with them. He's found the 'underwear' button on his talker and just loves making his brother and sister laugh by repeatedly pairing underwear with someone's name.

Observing and commenting

Back in the heat of the summer we were sitting at the table eating lunch. Carter was doing his usual thing with his talker which is to converse a bit with us and then divert to exploring and playing around with his device (this basically consists of him randomly hitting buttons so that what he is saying doesn't make much sense - much like a toddler babbling and experimenting with new sounds and words).

So, when I heard him say mountain I didn't think much of it - probably just more exploration on his part. But then he paired mountain with beer and spoke both words together. That got my attention. Mountain Beer? Sounds cold and clear, like great tasting beer. I looked over and there was Carter pointing to my husband's can of Coor's Light. But of course, Mountain Beer!

note the mtn graphic above the label

Pushing the limits to get a reaction

Carter has the names of several people programmed into his talker. For my husband and I he has Mom and Dad (of course). I've added and deleted people's names over time as needed; classmates move away, teachers change, etc. Carter recently got a new therapist at school whose name is Stacey, so I programmed her name into his device.

One night during dinner, Jack and Taylor were talking about going for a swim after they finished eating. That's when Carter interjected with, 'Swimming Stacey.' I was pretty sure he meant me but I wanted to make sure he wasn't referring to his therapist - perhaps they'd talked about swimming at school. I asked him, 'Do you mean Stacey at school?' A big grin spread across his face and he pointed directly at me. He laughed and laughed and I couldn't help but laugh, too.

Jack and Taylor play around with calling my husband and I by our first names and it started a while back. But, this was the first opportunity Carter had to try it out and he loved it, giggling away - just like my other two. It was awesome.

Although some days it seems that Carter's language development and competency with his talker is advancing at a painstaking rate, he is definitely progressing - and it's often when I stop to take note of the little things that I recognize this.

Carter has demonstrated that he can show consideration toward others, he can make observations, he can get a reaction, and he can be a big goofball. These are the things that most parents take for granted with their children. 

One of the greatest things I've learned from Carter is not to take anything for granted and to appreciate and be grateful for the little things.

I'm not alone in this feeling. Take a look at some of the milestones my fellow bloggers are celebrating with their kids:

Max Walks Up the Stairs for the First Time



  1. I think I am a bit in love with your little guy :) I love his potty humour and it sounds like he has a mischievous streak which I am such a sucker for! Thank you so much for including us in your post!

    1. Thanks, Anchel. Was happy to include you. Thanks for the inspiration and for the great quote.

    2. Oh, and as for Carter...he's known to be a real ladies man. Seems he's charmed you before he's even met you!

  2. Must take after his Mom with all that potty talk and humour!!!!

    1. Ha! The humour, yes. I blame the potty talk on his Dad :-)

  3. Lovely to find your blog via Ellen and Max x I love how Carter can sha his potty humour with the family! My son also uses a AAC device ( dynavox) but is fairly new to it this year. I love your quote up the top too!
    I have met Rosemary and she is just wonderful!

    1. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment! Great to connect with another mom whose child uses a talker.

  4. Love that - don't all kids go for the reaction? Trying out our first names, potty talk etc. He's hilarious! :)

    1. Yes, he's quite a character! Thanks, Ida Mae.

  5. Hi Stacey,
    Janine's mom, here - so glad I just found your blog by accident! I recognized Carter right away - he's doing so well. Louise @ Bloom had connected us a year or two ago, being moms of kids who use Talkers. This post was especially good for me to happen upon... I was just thinking about how the progress with communication can seem excruciatingly slow at times, but looking back, yes, we have climbed a long, long way. And your examples are so familiar (and validating) to me. We had a speech therapist once who was so brilliant, and a techno-wizard with the Device, but it seemed a revelation to her that the random button-pushing habit could be likened to toddler-babble, as you describe. Also with the "Underwear! Underwear! Underwear!" - the SLP was about to hide the word, when I explained to her that all my kids seemed to go thru that potty humor phase, and that I was actually kind of thrilled. (We did end up hiding some of the body-part words, or changing them to something a little more polite.) Right now we're working on initiating conversation, asking questions, and sharing information. Janine's response time is another issue... it is so hard for non-familiar people to wait long enough for her to answer - and she does tend to get distracted in the middle of a sentence. For me, it's both exciting and aggravating most of the time! As with all her goals, "Ongoing..."
    I will be a reader!

    1. Hi Kate,
      So great to hear from you again. It sounds like we are experiencing a lot of the same issues. I went back to the Bloom blog to refresh my memory about our last interaction. I couldn't be happier that you found my blog by accident.
      Please do keep in touch! I am going to be doing another guest post for Bloom in the next week but I will also post a link to it here.
      So glad we've reconnected!