In Exodus 4:11-12 (MSG), God said, “And who do you think made the human mouth? And who makes some mute, some deaf, some sighted, some blind? Isn’t it I, God? So, get going. I’ll be right there with you—with your mouth! I’ll be right there to teach you what to say.”
God made Cayden the way HE wanted him. Even though much of what Cayden said to people was unspoken, HE helped Cayden learn what needed to be said. And He put people in our lives who were wonderfully skilled & taught us so much about so many things.
Cayden wanted to communicate with us and tried very hard to make his voice heard. He had a variety of vocalizations that included whining, crying, yelling, squealing, & speaking.
He would learn new words in speech therapy but keeping them in his vocabulary was difficult. His low tone in his neck & chest and mouth just made the speech process difficult. Even with that challenge, Cayden did have a few consistent words. He could fairly easily say the ‘oooo’ sound. So any word with that sound was great. Favorite phrases included:
Go Blue! (when he wanted his new blue walker).
Go Vroom! (while watching NASCAR).
Go Out! (when he wanted to swing or go play outside).
Boo. (meaning food)
Boo goo (clearly meant brother)
Choo Choo (train of course).
One time at therapy he clearly said “Blue Boat.” but just once.
Part of learning speech sounds for deaf and hearing impaired children is learning a variety of different sounds and rhythms. Cayden learned a lot of these too. AaaaaAAAAaaaa (going up and down, was the sound for airplane). Aggg (again). BAAA (sheep). Cow. Clown. Daah for Dad. Daw (for duck). Doggie. Elmo. Fun. Go. Gobble. Gone. Gorilla. (he really did clearly say that!) Gooood. Ha ha ha. (Clown sound). Hop. Hello. HO, HO, HO (Santa’s sound). Hoh (home). In. Loo Loo (noodles). I Loo you! (makes a mama’s heart melt!) Mom. More. No. Now. Noel (while singing christmas carols). OOO-ooo-OOO (police siren sound). Out. Oink. He would do pub-puh for boat. Red. Rocco. (Rosco, our dog). Uh -Oh! Up. Uh-huh. Woo-ooo, Wooo-ooo (fire engine, different from the police siren). WHEE! Yeah.
How do I remember these so clearly? Thankfully in 2006, I made a scrapbook that listed all his current vocabulary. I am so glad I took the time to do that. It is such a blessing to me now.
This list was about the full extent of his vocabulary. When Cayden was around 3, we could tell, just this much vocalization was difficult for him, and his breath support was not strong enough to support longer sentences. So we began to use assistive tech devices to expand his communication & this slowed his speech development. It was perhaps not the ideal outcome, but he was able to share his thoughts more and more.
As we moved further toward augmentative communication devices, he stopped speaking with his voice so much. He did still talk, but it never really progressed much further than simple 2 word phrases.
Even though it was very difficult for him, he would still use his voice. On his last Easter Sunday, singing in church, he clearly said “Alleluia!” I believe Cayden truly understood the magnitude of Easter & the resurrection. Every Easter you will see me crying tears of joy, as I vividly remember holding Cayden, when clear as a bell he said “Alleluia” in my ear. Now he is singing heavenly ALLELUIAS with the angels. Praising the Lord in a full vocabulary.
Sometimes he will talk to me in my dreams. I hear his new full sentences, and they are beautiful moments of insight into his current life & into the eternity I will be able to spend with him in Heaven.
See you soon, Mr. C! We’ll talk nonstop!