Coco was developing normally up to the age of 26 months, she was a late walker, 17 months, but you know the saying "early talker late walker "! However, as time passed I began to notice that her speech didn’t seem to progress. Now, a few years on Coco is unable to tell me when she's hungry, tired, hot, cold or in pain and this has been extremely difficult for me, as I feel so sad for her. She understands absolutely everything you say to her but cannot reply!
She was given the diagnosis that she had a very rare genetic condition. It's a micro deletion of the 7q35 chromosome within the CNTNAP gene which typically affects speech and language and has been linked with, sometimes, but not always, Autism.
I don't remember the defining moment that she stopped talking but I do know I had 'googled' the heck out of every child development websites. Autism was flagged so many times but I wasn't convinced because there were too many contradictions to that. We contacted our health visitor who then sent out a speech therapist and this is where this never ending journey begins. Coco now has a team around the child including a physiologist, a paediatrician, occupational therapist, SenCo, an autism specialist, Nursery and of course us, her parents.
I think the defining moment for me was when we were advised that a special school ( Cornwall Development Centre) would be best for Coco and we were encouraged to visit. In my opinion, this would not have been the right thing for her. We turned the offer down and decided to research speech therapy methods, techniques and apps.
That's when I came across Predictable which led me to Chatable. Although it is not a free solution, I think it's worth every penny as I can't put a price on my child’s voice. My eldest daughter and I bought the iPad Air and a griffin tech case and I started customising the app. I walked around our house, town, nursery and set about photographing every part of Cocos life to make it more relevant to her. We've also started recording on Model Talker.