V is for Voice

Sam Bowen's avatar

by Sam Bowen

Unlike other parents of special needs children I know, no doctor has ever told us that Lucy won’t talk.

However after seven years of speech and language therapy, a couple of years of Portage and what can only be described as ‘hands firmly on’ parenting, I think we are all pretty certain talking isn’t going to be on the agenda any time soon.

But then there have been the odd occasions, the seemingly random pure miracle moments when we have heard her voice.

Not the joyful babble, or that constant stream of jumbled consonants and vowels that resembles a difficult round of countdown, but an actual voice with words.

In seven years here is what she has said:

“Elephant” whilst sat on my lap at Grandad’s and looking at a copy of a colour supplement I pointed to a photograph of one on the cover and she repeated my word. Only once mind and nothing else after that.

“I’m a good girl” whilst sat on my lap the day before my sister-in-law’s wedding. Luckily my husband walked into the room at the time and heard her, otherwise I doubt he’d have believed me.

“Yes” shouted emphatically into my mother’s face when she asked Lucy if she was bored, my poor Mum promptly burst into tears.

“Yes” shouted straight into my husband’s face when he asked if it was time for her to go to bed.

“More” for her favourite petit filous fix, but she has since given up saying it verbally and now signs “more” in Makaton instead.

“Love you” which punctured the air like an arrow at 4am on our first night on holiday when my husband and I were so shattered with her staying awake all night. Needless to say we forgave her instantly!

“Really?” said this weekend as she was sat in her activity chair in the kitchen. I was unloading the dishwasher and nattering to her about our plans for the day ahead.

Lastly, and perhaps most surprisingly...

“Planet Earth!” whist watching Mr Tumble (or rather Justin) on the TV as he and two children went to the Planetarium. She repeated their words and I very nearly ironed over my hand that was gripping the ironing board in shock.

When she speaks, or shouts, it is with a clear little voice free of any impediments and quite grown up. #

It happens very infrequently, seemingly randomly and she won’t repeat it so I can’t film it as proof!

I think it’s odd, to say the least, that she clearly can hear, understand and form words not always in repetition but in answer to a question. It’s “odd” because all the evidence from her speech and language sessions would suggest she is way, way behind being able to do this.

As beautiful as those moments are, they are also frustrating as, if it’s possible once why isn’t it possible always?

I battle with feeling hugely grateful that I have ever heard her little voice at all, with feeling angry that there must be a way of helping her to speak daily.

It would make all of our lives so much easier.

I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens, time as they say is a great healer.

We have all the time in the world (or planet) for her to find her voice.

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