I never underestimate the ability of a child to learn even if they are non-verbal and seemingly without any receptive skills. Being 100% positive every day, 24/7 can be challenging but we have to have a strong faith that our children have not yet met their full potential no matter what anyone tells us.
When Daniel was diagnosed it took another year before he would utter his first echolalic word at the age of 3 1/2 and it would be another year before he would put two words together. He is now 13 and we usually get the 3 word requests such as "I want ___" or " ___ ___ please." After 9 years of the same patterned speech it's hard not to think the "window of opportunity" has shut and this is where we are and where we will most likely stay. Then something happens and you realize you've just seen that window that you thought may be closing opened right back up again.
We just recently experienced this in what was one of the most appropriate and heartfelt feelings Daniel has ever shared with us.
This all took place when I was cutting his fingernails after a bath. He sat on his bed next to me and I held his hand while we prepared to work through the weekly ritual. This evening he was a little on edge and I could see the anxiety rising to the surface. I calmly started to tell him, "It's ok, we will be done soon" and I began to count down 10, 9, 8,7 as I manicured each finger. He was clearly not comfortable and I asked him to breath in, breath out and to please try to calm down to which he replied, "I can't help myself" I was so surprised and although I was sad that he was feeling such anxiety at the moment I was ecstatic that he was able to convey this feeling.
So WOW!, at 13 he is still surprising us and it makes me excited for the future wondering what he has in store for us each and every day. We feel blessed!