1) Talk to them.It can be awkward when your baby/child is small and when they are non-verbal, to talk to them. Often times, there is no response at all and it feels like a one way conversation. Talking to your child is one of the easiest ways to build receptive language which is nothing more than understanding language that is spoken to them. Our children are often in their own little worlds so we need to make our world, exciting and fun so they will want to be involved in it. Your conversations with them should be fun, upbeat, singsong like (helps increase memory) and they should describe what you are doing, or what is going on. If you are getting them dressed, you might talk about putting on their coat and mittens to keep little hands warm (I used to say we need to put on mittens because “little parts freeze fast!”), etc. You would talk about why they are getting dressed and where you are going. You might talk about who will be there and how much fun it will be. Be engaged with your child and talk all the time to them. This helps their language development. A therapist once told me the best thing I could do was to talk to Dear Son. After that, I never stopped, lol. Understand too, that the transition from their world to our world may take a long, long time. We never know what will click with our child. For my Dear Son, all of the talking helped him increase his receptive language. It wasn't until he was in a daycare setting at the age of ten years old, that I can say that he was honestly in our world 100% of the time. He was ten and the kids were pre-school age but he loved it. He loved the action, he loved when kids got in trouble, he loved it when kids played with him, etc. Our world was finally better than his and he was in a good place medically for all of that to come together. My point is that you have to keep trying to get there.
Although Dear Son couldn't sit in a regular chair, he could sit in a rocking chair with a high back and balance his head on the window to look out. He also used his feet to move the chair around.
4) Change Yourself Before You Change Them. When Dear Son was around five or so, I transitioned from part time to full time employment. Shortly thereafter, Dear Son started a new behavior. Every time I tried to lift him out of the car and into his wheelchair, he would bear down and try to sit on the ground. By this time, he was getting heavy for me and it was hard to get him to sit into the wheelchair/stroller instead of the ground. On one particular day, it had been raining and he was trying to sit on the ground. We had been to speech therapy after school and I had just stopped for an errand at the local mall and was running in with him to get some make up. He refused to sit in his chair and wanted to sit on the ground. When we got home that night, I thought about what had happened. I had started working again and my normal routine was to work a long day, come home and relieve the sitter, eat something and then play with Dear Son. That’s a long day for a little boy! Instead, I thought that maybe his behavior had to do with me and perhaps I wasn’t spending enough time with him. The next day, I changed my routine. I came home, scooped him up on my lap and gave him hugs and kisses and talked to him. He scooted off my lap when he had enough and I prepared my dinner. After dinner, I took him out for a long walk. His behavior stopped virtually overnight. The only thing different that I did was to change the order of what I was doing.
Dear Son at a theater outing enjoying the luncheon. His dress shirt had a special coating that repelled spills which was great to repel his drooling. You can see the dystonic movements in his hands.
Dear Son's nursery, back in 1991.