When My Son With Cerebral Palsy Says the Most Amazing Words


“It’s amazing you can understand him,” people sometimes say to me. Well, yes, I can, often because my son, Max, likes to repeat a lot of the same phrases. He uses the speech app on his iPad to communicate and he knows that’s critical for people at school, friends and others to understand him.

At home, though, he prefers to speak words and say them again and again until we get it. This can be tricky, since the majority of consonants are not yet his thing (yay for the letters “m” and “n”). But he wants to talk so badly, which was one reason I took a hard stand when his speech therapist at school said articulation would no longer be a focus of therapy sessions.

Our daughter, Sabrina, is particularly good at translating Max-ese, and when I am not sure what he’s trying to tell me, she often is. Sometimes we have a good laugh. (See: Want to buy a monkey?)

What’s most amazing of all is that this boy is talking. Those doctors in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) sure can do a number on you, and when we were told he might never talk, that stuck in my head. Once, years ago, someone laughingly said to me that when Max did speak one day, I’d get tired of hearing him. “When he talks, I will never, ever get tired of hearing him,” I informed her, and it’s true.

Every single day, I am grateful for the words. For the rest of my life, I will be grateful for the words.

“Hi, ohmmmy!”

[“Hi, Mommy!”]

“I ahn ooo eee a ire-ahn ehh I owe uh!”

[“I want to be a fireman when I grow up!”]

“Are ooo oh ahh-eee?”

[“Are you so happy?”]

“Oh-eeen eeeesh my ay-or-ih or!”

[“Bowling is my favorite sport!”]

“Ayn oooh!”

[“Thank you!”]

“Oooh ire-ouse!”

[“I’d like to visit a new firehouse. Now, please.”]

“I ahn ooo eee inion ooh-eee!”]

[“I want to see the Minions movie!”]

“Ah oooh oh-ay?”

[“Are you OK?”]

“I ahn oooh-eeee!”]

[“I want sushi!”]

Oh, and the best words of all, the ones I have always seen in his eyes and in his kisses, but he has only started saying in the last year:

“I uh ooooh, Ohmmmy!”

[“I love you, Mommy!”]

Ellen Seidman the mighty.1-001

Follow this journey on Love That Max.

Read more from Ellen Seidman:
Special needs motherhood, pretty much summed up in GIFs
On living with Joy and Sadness
What I did on summer break: special needs parents edition


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