A typical child says their first words somewhere around what, a year?

J did that. A couple here and there things. He never had true, strong language, but he had a few words. His primary care doctor swore  up and down he was firmly telling her “no” at his 15 month well baby appointment even though I wasn’t quite so certain.

Language delays are what led us to early intervention and what put us on the road to learning he had autism. They’re just part of life. Like I have said many a time before, J isn’t traditionally verbal but they boy sure expresses himself. Language is emerging, so he is on level with children a year or more younger, but he’s trying so hard. We are labelling things regularly, from objects to emotions, and his echolalia actually gives so much hope because what he repeats he stands the chance of forming into purposeful, independent speech.

Today was a little breakthrough. I am hoping it is, at least.

People rarely have names in J’s world, or names/labels that he actually uses. If I ask him to do something with or bring something to a familiar person of late he has responded and done as asked, which is a huge leap in and of itself, but more often than not he’ll only say a moniker when he is repeating. He’s repeated “mama” a few times but never said it truly as a method of indicating me or getting my attention. Some of you may remember the fluke “mama” of last December that I had not heard again til… well, today really.

I was sitting down with J on the floor, talking about his Thomas the Tank Engine case that he wanted open. I asked who he wanted it opened for, which he happily answered “Jacob!” to. Then I asked him, who should open it? I honestly thought he would say “Jacob!” because that’s how lines of questioning like this go, and it’s fun. He threw me for a loop though and looked up at me, big smile in place as he said “Mama!”.

And I was gobsmacked.

Now, I was ready to write it off. This is not because I doubt his capabilities. I far from do that. I understand his capabilities, and I know that for something to be a real and gelled fact in J’s life it has to be repeated on several occasions before it is true. Twice more through the day, he answered or use “mama” purposefully and without repeating another person saying it. He doesn’t always use it as another child would, namely to get my attention, but he still uses it, and that blows me away.

My son is 3 years and 4 months old and today, my son called me Mama.

No one can ever take that away from me.