Recently a question was posted on one of my favorite support sites for parents of children with Autism. It was geared toward the parents of kids with limited to no verbal communication and basically asked what is one thing you would want to ask most of your child if you knew you would
get a verbal answer and/or what is one thing you have always longed to hear.
At first I wasn't sure how to answer this as my child hasn't always been non-verbal (it happened after his first regression) and now he isn't completely non-verbal (he does what I have found to be called echolalia). But after talking to a friend of mine on the phone I was reminded of a very precious moment that kind of fits with this question that I would now like to share. :)
I was telling her about how I have learned to make the best of the echolalia in the sense of when I long to hear him tell me he loves me I just say it first so he'll repeat it. Then I paused for a moment and asked her if it will ever come on it's own... if he'll ever just say it to me and know what he's saying. She told me she was sure he would someday and to just cling to the fact I know he loves me even if he can't say it for real right now.
It was at that point that I remembered a very precious moment that happened a little over a month or two ago (before his latest regression started). We had been working on sign language to help him with his communication needs and he was soaking it up like a sponge. One sign though we had been doing since the day he was born (or at least I had been doing it that long lol), and that is the sign for
"I love you". Even after we started officially learning sign language with him though he still didn't sign this independantly, he only repeated if someone else did it first with rare exception and usually not truly in the right context/meaning.
There was one time though, that stands out in my memory now almost like it was yesterday. We were having a more relaxed day and he was sitting in front of the couch watching a movie while I was in the back room getting things done. At one point I came in to get some things and he made some grunts and babbles to get my attention. When I looked at him he simply smiled and held up one very precious sign... "I love you" When I smiled back he clapped and signed for a hug and I have to tell you he got one of the biggest hugs that day. :)
So I guess over all my answer is I long to hear him tell me he loves me, on his own, with full understanding of what he just said. But in all reality, I think he already has. :)