When you talk to anyone familiar with children with special needs, there are a couple of questions they ask you off the bat to determine your child's physical abilities and development level.
Can he walk? Is he verbal? Can he feed himself? Can he use the potty?
When you answer every one of those questions with a 'no,' it is really easy to get down on your situation. Really easy. If you let it. Whenever you answer 'no,' everyone's first response (whether they mean it or not) is to get a sad look on their face and tell you they're sorry. It is just human nature. I get that.
What I found is that if I am very positive, then the response I get when first talking to a new person about Will and his abilities is also very positive. And it should be, truly.
So Will cannot talk... does that stop him from being engaging? Not one single bit. Take the video below for instance (click this link to view the video if you get the blog update via email). You've seen this same toy in our photos before... it is a computer that has been with us for a long long time. Will loves it. There are 9 buttons on the keypad, and each one of them plays a different song. We discovered over the past year that Will loves to push one of the buttons because he loves the song that it plays when he touches it. Of course, this is the button that Will must work the hardest to push because it is at the bottom left of the keypad, the farthest reach from his right hand.
By the way, the thumping you hear in the video is me stomping my foot. This is also causing me to shake the camera. I am not a skilled camerawoman.
To encourage him to reach and push that button, we started clapping or stomping at a couple points of the song. He lights up when we do this, which then encourages him to reach and push the button again. He laughs, we laugh. Luke and Matt try to clap with us. We all cheer when Will pushes the button again.
So while my child may not reach out for your hand, gaze into your eyes, and ask you to pay attention to him, he does communicate, express joy, and engage you deeply. If you're lucky enough to be next to him. Just make sure you bring your clapping hands.