Olivia has been diagnosed with Speech Apraxia, and while I still don't completely understand all the nuances of it yet or how it will affect her long term, the short of it is that she can understand language better than she can speak it. She will often look at you quite intently and seriously while you are speaking, watching your mouth move and sometimes silently moving her lips.
It's interesting watching the process of language develop in such slow motion. Everything about Olivia develops in slow motion and it's quite fascinating in some ways to see how intricately we are made and how each step of our development prepares us for the next task along the way. She's recently begun saying sentences that have meaning only to her at this point. They are short and to the point and often sound very specific but we can't decipher them. She loves to sing and will sing anytime she hears anyone else doing it. She can actually sing more easily than she can speak, and her ST says that is typical of apraxia (similar to stutterers). Still no words to the songs, but she can mimic rhythms pretty well (for her, that is).
Recently her ST handed me a piece of paper with all the words Olivia has said up to this point. There are quite a few more than I thought would be on there; I think 37 words or gestures is what Janet (her ST) told me. It was both refreshing and sad to see the paper... more words than I thought, but so many of them said only once or twice. I haven't heard a clear "mama" since last November.
Our next goal is for her to say 2 and 3 words together. Since I've been given the piece of paper to tape up and write on, I've found myself listening closer to her babble, as has Rafe and Amelia. It's only been 1 day, literally, and we've written down 3 things. This morning she went to wake up Amelia right after Rafe did, and she made a kissing sound and said "a(k)e uh" (wake up) as she touched Mia. At the store today she grabbed a plantain and said, "Ooo! Uh(k) aa aaa(d)" (look at that). Those are things we count as speech, surprisingly enough. Janet keeps reminding us that speech is communication and although we can't recognize it, she is speaking and forming sentences. Her favorite thing to say is "If you think you heard it in context, you did!"