Along with autism, Kamp has been diagnosed with Receptive and Expressive Communicative Delay Disorder (RECDD). It means that, not only does Kamp not use language, but he has a hard time understanding it too.
For example, Kamp can take a picture of a bus, match it to a corresponding picture and repeat the word bus (after I say it first), but he does not understand that the word bus represents the thing in the picture. Nor does he understand that the yellow bus waiting for him outside our house is the same thing as the ‘yellow thing’ in the picture.
He doesn’t see the importance of language, and doesn’t know how to think in abstract terms. How do you teach a little boy that language is important when he doesn’t know what language is? Therein lies the difficulty.
Ever since he was diagnosed with autism, I have really pushed language hard. If Kamp could get over the language hurdle I feel like everything else would come.
A few months ago I was at the gym when I answered a phone call from Kamp’s speech therapist. She told me that after recent testing I shouldn’t count Kamp out for using some language, but the likelihood of him
talking the way we had hoped was unlikely. I began to cry. I tried to hold it in but I stood in the middle of the gym – on the treadmill – with tears running down my face – and I cried.
Don’t mistake Cry-Fest 2012 for surrender! I will never give up fighting to find a way for Kamp to communicate. Whether it is speaking, signing or writing, like the inspiring Carly Fleischmann, I will find a way for him to talk to me.
You see, I’ve never heard my 5, almost 6 year-old-boy, tell me he loves me. I don’t push him to mimic that phrase because I don’t want him to simply regurgitate it. I want to hear it for the first time – one day – when he can say it on his own, because he means it. I don’t care if it is spoken, said in signs or written down, I long for him to say, “I love you” every time I send him off to school or kiss him goodnight.
I make an effort to soak it up every time one of my kids tells me they love me. I realize it’s something precious and important. We all want our children to love us, and I know Kamp loves me; it would just be so sweet, and amazing, to hear it too. I don’t care if it said silly, or with attitude; when I hear those words it lights up my heart and I can’t wait to hear them again. I will never get tired of hearing “Mom, I love you.” And when it comes to my little Kamp, I will wait forever.