Here’s a quick snapshot of where Elijah stands today. He is a very happy child who is extremely sociable with his caregivers. He loves to give hugs and kisses to mommy and daddy and has recently begun waving “hi” and “bye” when prompted. His vocabulary consists entirely of “da” “ma” and “ba” with a few other random sounds, however he has assigned various combinations of these sounds to multiple objects and people. It’s a bit like learning to speak Chinese….the same word can mean twenty different things depending on intonation and context. He also makes the sounds for cat, dog, pig, duck, horse and sheep. He doesn’t say the sound words, i.e. “oink”, he actually makes a grunt sound that sounds just like a pig. That’s about it for expressive vocabulary. He does use the sign for “more” and will hold his hands up to you when he wants up, but no other alternative language as of yet.
Elijah’s receptive vocabulary, on the other hand, has skyrocketed in recent months. He has several books and toys in which he can identify several animals, letters, numbers and colors. You can ask him, “Elijah where’s the monkey” and he will point straight to it. Pointing is another one of those milestones that lead to tremendous celebration in our household. He only started pointing consistently back in March. He still won’t point to things in the distance, but he’s mastered pointing at things in books and on toys. I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence or not, but after reading “Nurtureshock” by Po Bronson (which is a WONDERFUL book, by the way) I tried one of the things he mentioned when he was talking about how children acquire language. One one of the rare times Elijah would point at something I not only gave him the word for what he was pointing at, but also touched either his hand, his leg or his back. Just a small little acknowledgement, but I noticed when I did it that he lit up and started pointing at new things and doing it more frequently. The next thing I know not only is he pointing but he’s also making his own words for the objects in the picture as well. Like I said, I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence or not, but I’ve definitely kept it up and it seems to make a difference for him.
Gross motor is Elijah’s strongest area. His most recent evaluations from school tested him in the 15-16 month range in gross motor whereas everything else he’s at 12 months or less. Honestly I’m not sure how accurate those tests are, there are a lot of skills they don’t cover and while the evaluations from school show very little progress he has moved in leaps and bounds since the beginning of the school year so I usually take those measurements with a grain of salt. He is walking, running, and climbing stairs by sort of crawling up them. I think he can do the stairs standing, but we encourage the creeping simply because our stairs are ceramic tile and the consequences of a fall give me nightmares to think about. He can go down a couple of small stairs but still has a tendency not to look where he’s walking so going down stairs is not a skill he’s truly mastered yet.
In fine motor he’s mastered the pincer grasp and can feed himself snacks. He’s doing better with feeding himself oatmeal in the morning with a spoon. A bit messy, but what two year old isn’t? Speaking of food, he’s still primarily eating purees although we just this month ago got him to eat chicken which has been a huge victory for us. That’s our first non-snack solid so we were pretty happy about it. We also got him to eat a few bites of scrambled eggs Sunday morning so we’re hoping a truly solid diet is on the horizon. We’ve had to call everything “snack” to get him to try things, but I’m not going to quibble over vocabulary if it gets him eating 🙂
In social he is still completely ignoring his peers which is worrisome. The other kids will say hi to him when I drop him off at school in the morning and bye when I pick him up and he completely ignores them. We did see him play with one of our friends’ kid when Elijah was in his own environment so I’m wondering if sheer sensory overload isn’t part of the problem in getting him to connect with peers in a classroom setting. With us he is, as I mentioned before, extremely loving. He also shows some joint attention skills with us. He recently started smiling at himself in the mirror as well. He is extremely responsive to facial expressions and tends to respond more to the expression than to tone of voice.
Anyhow, I think that’s a fairly comprehensive picture of where he stands now, I look forward to seeing where we are in a few months.