It had been years of worry and waiting – even a few times where she was close to giving into despair.
This newest ray of hope played an exhausting game of torment with her heart. It wasn’t just if he could break through his barriers, but what would he have to say about her and everything they had gone through?
When 26-year-old Judith’s baby boy was born, everything appeared normal.
His sparkling brown eyes shined like stars and his cheeks were like chubby, rosy peaches. Even the nurses couldn’t help but gasp at his cuteness. It felt like the world had perfectly fallen into place – until one year later when she noticed something odd.
When most children would have already been juggling at least 2 or 3 words, her little Evan spoke none.
The doctors promised she would just have to wait – some kids took longer than others. But after two years, there was no change, and the Ohio mother got some hard news. Her son was now classified as non-verbal.
What does non-verbal mean? It was a label that not only confused Judith but most people who had never dealt with something like this before.
It cut right into her soul when she learned that her son could physically speak, but there was a specific form of stress or anxiety that had blocked him.
It was clear Evan was a bright, curious boy. But he couldn’t even get out a “yes” or “no”.
It felt like, somehow, she was failing him as a mother, and it broke her heart. What could she do to help him?
Judith longed to communicate with her boy, in any form. Public and even private education facilities just couldn’t deal with Evan’s unique situation.
So, she started the arduous task of researching, interviewing, and testing various programs, schools, and professionals. However, none of them seemed to click.
It wasn’t until she met Diane Logan, a specialist in non-verbal children, who had a simple but interesting piece of technology that would hopefully change Evan’s ability to communicate with the world.
It had been years of disappointment, and her son was already five. Would this be the solution?
It was a slow process, but the colorful images and simple phrases – things like “here”, “no way,” and “thank you” – seemed to be the perfect steppingstone for Evan.
Judith prayed it would work. She longed to know his thought, dreams, and have a better glimpse into his personality. When Logan said they were ready for a test run, she couldn’t help but feel butterflies in her stomach.
It was a moment she wanted captured forever, so she set up the camera and took a seat at the table with Even.
The software was already running, and up until that point, it had just been touch-practice and recollection exercises. The first real “conversation” had been reserved for this special moment.
Diane pointed to Judith. It was the cue she had been told to wait for. She leaned in and kissed her boy’s head.
“Honey, is there anything you want to tell me?” There had been no rehearsing. Whatever button Evan pressed next was entirely from his own mind and heart.
Evan looked at the screen, as if evaluating each phrase.
But when he finally touched one of the text buttons, and the corresponding sound came out, Judith felt the world crumble away. “I love you.” But it didn’t end there.
Evan pressed it over and over again.
She tossed away her phone, ending the recording, threw her arms around her boy and cried rivers of happiness. Despite every reassurance through the years, she couldn’t help but feel like she was failing as a parent – that she was a terrible mother.
But hearing those three simple words changed her entire world.
It had been a heart-breaking, and expensive, journey to get to that point, but it was worth every moment and penny. There had been many lessons along the way, however there was a new one.
Personalities are not just limited to the words we speak.
It’s so often that people don’t mean what they say or use their words to harm others. It showed just how beautiful a soul her boy had if these were the first words he wanted to use. That wasn’t all, though.
The simple images were only the beginning.
Eventually, with time, patience, and understanding he would be able to move to more complex systems and sentence using a keyboard. It was the start of an amazing, new journey, and she couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say.