Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: The Love of Language

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Love of Language

Erik's language is suddenly peppered with adult phrases. Don't call the authorities just yet, though. They are all G-rated phrases thus far. What I find bizarre, however, is hearing them coming from a small boy who is light years behind in terms of every pediatric milestone known to man. After all, at 17 months, he had yet to say his first word. What is especially striking is that most of these phrases would be more commonly overheard on league night at the bowling alley or from a man who has been on his feet all day and is seeking a quiet, nag-free evening in his La-Z-Boy.

Over time, Erik talks progressively more to himself as he plays. On more than one occasion I have been listening to him play in his room and heard him suddenly exclaim, "Come on, baby!" He was hardly able to string two words together a few weeks ago but is now trying out new words and short phrases. This is where we have yet to determine how much he actually understands. From what I read, many people with WS use memorized words without truly understanding their meaning and often fail to use them in the precisely correct context. In short, their memories are incredible for language when their actual comprehension of words sometimes falls short.

For instance, Erik recently correctly identified every color on each page of a book about colors, including gray, and I was in the process of having a happy cow until I realized he had simply memorized the book and seemed to have no comprehension of the concept of colors, let alone how to identify them. I don't want to be a skeptic about his abilities like I was in the past, but I am cautious about what I accept to be true, as we have some scars that go with this diagnosis that instill a great deal of skepticism.

But then sometimes I wonder, as there are little moments like this:

Nancy (watching Erik playing with mops hanging on the wall): Erik, please don't touch those, honey. They might fall on your head.

Erik (as he leaves the room and firmly shuts the door behind him): All right! All right!

Nancy: (speechless)

You be the judge.

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Blogger Kerry said...

So... if Erik is memorizing phrases, where did he learn "Come on, baby!" ;) heh heh

I remember Michael "reading" books when he was that little, knowing every word because I'd read them to him a zillion times. You can still brag and show him off to your childless friends because they will think he's a genius!

It does seem he knows when to use those phrases! He cracks me up :)

Love you- K

2:27 PM  
Blogger Rosemarie said...

Comprehension and memorization are skills every child learns. Erik's doing fine!

Receive each surprise (word or phrase) as a gift and melt in the moment like all moms.

Children are miracles who grow along the way, and we are blessed to witness it.

4:37 PM  
Anonymous Gua said...

I asked Erik to hand the little "chip" from his brace to me yesterday. I said "Thank you." He replied, "Welcome!"
He knows the power of "please" too, that's for sure. It's hard to turn a polite request down, and he knows it! There is definitely some measure of understanding there, I have no doubt.
Love, Mom

5:05 PM  
Blogger kathi said...

Too cute. I remember a lot of things that the kids picked up every time my dad came to visit...oh dear!

5:29 PM  
Anonymous Aspen said...

HAHA! And the attitude is a'comin. Oh I love it. This is when any other mom may discipline their child for being ugly...Me, would be laughing out loud. HA!

7:53 AM  
Anonymous Micah said...

I am with Aspen...I would have laughed out loud too! There would have been no disciplinary action taken. I LOVE that he is starting to give some attitude along with his brilliant speech!

8:04 AM  

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