A few days ago, we were making dinner. What we were having on the menu was not something that Raif will eat. Now, I know there are some parents of SN kids who insist their kids eat what they eat. Problem is, Raif won’t. His texture issues and aversions will simply have him gagging and throwing-up.

Normally I try to cook meals with at least one dish he will eat. Meaning, I will cook chicken and mashed potatoes, knowing he’ll eat the mashed pots. However, for the days he doesn’t like anything, I have a short list of alternates that I can easily make that he likes, such as hot dogs. On this day I asked him if he’d like soup and crackers. Raif went to the pantry, pulled out a can of tomato soup and said, “Soup. Tomato Soup.”

Then came the amazing part. “Soup…and… Soup…and…cheese.” At this point he stopped and thought really hard, working to articulate. “Soup and…cheese sandwich.”

This was a breakthrough! Raif meant grilled cheese but it didn’t matter. My son had articulated a want, but more importantly had used the word “AND”. For anyone familiar with the whole development thing, there is a huge thing getting to a point where you can express 2 distinct thoughts. “This and that” or “This then that” are huge milestones. Before that day, Raif would speak his wants, but usually one at a time. If there was more than one thought, it was usually disconnected with some space of time. Granted, this might not have been how it was panning out in his head, but it was how his limited speech worked.

One of the things having a special needs child has taught me is to never take anything for granted. Those things, albeit small, are so important.

In a time where there are so many ups and downs, in life and also in Raif’s life and development, those glimmers truly keep me going.