In my "daydreams," she is often about 4 or 5 years old at least...the age I'd imagine her to speak like a little grown up almost. I don't think about these scenarios with sadness, but rather with hope and excitement. I consider myself to be an optimistic person, but I am also realistic and pragmatic in my expectations. And I do feel that communication is very much within our reach.
Figuring out a method of communication would first take care of some basic needs. We've gotten pretty good at knowing when she's hungry or tired. However, Caroline is unable to point so it's difficult to tell if something hurts. She sometimes gets sad and babbles in distress while looking directly at us. It's obvious she has something important to tell us. We do our best to figure out what's wrong, but it's hard to see that she desperately wants to say something but can't. Still, for all the challenges she faces, Caroline is already showing us how patient she is at just 22 months.
We know that Caroline has plenty to say. Her recent Early Intervention assessment evaluated her cognitive and receptive language skills as being on target for her age. The evaluation also showed that she has the social-emotional development of a 36-month-old. Caroline is very expressive and communicates with her eyes...I've learned that great joy and meaningful moments can be exchanged without the use of words. But I can't help but wonder what her words would reveal about her. Based on Caroline's personality, I picture the following. I imagine that she would have a dry and witty sense of humor, but never use sarcasm to hurt or undermine others. I think she would be assertive and confident, but never condescending. I suspect she would have a ton of questions about all sorts of things. I believe the ability to communicate her exact thoughts would be incredibly liberating to her. And nobody would underestimate her intelligence simply because she can't speak and requires assistance with basic daily life needs. When I close my eyes, I can clearly see all these things.