It has been a while since I've provided an update on Matthew's communication. In the day to day, it is hard to see the progress and frustrating too, but when we look back to last year at this time, Matthew had pretty much no verbal capability. In comparison to that, he's made HUGE strides.
Right now, Matthew has a lot of discernible word approximation (especially if you know the context) and even some words (beyond approximations). He's had an intelligibility jump recently. He walks in the house and says something that sounds like "Padme" (our dog). When you count, he'll say something that sounds like numbers (like 'three'). When we wait at a light, sometimes he'll say "green" and "go" when the light turns. If you ask him "who loves her baby", he'll respond "mama". He calls out a semblance of "daddy" to get Darren's attention. If he wants a snack, he'll say something that sounds like "eat". Playing his favorite app on the iPod (Peekaboo Barn), he'll say words that sound like "duck" and "owl". When you ask him whose turn it is, he will say "me" and if someone takes his toy, he will very clearly say "mine" if he wants it back. It is great progress!
This jump, as exciting as it is, still hasn't solved his communication issues though. He still can't tell us about his day at school-- all I know about his day are the few words written on his form and whatever the teachers tell me when I pick him up. This is the primary reason I won't let him ride the bus home, even though he handed me a picture of a bus and said "Iwannago". He still yells at us in a language we can't understand-- I can't even express in words how tired I am of that after 4+ years. And even more frustrating, he seems to have a word one day and lose it the next. He has a long way to go.
We are still stressing the total communication idea-- words, gestures, sign and iPad. Since we don't really know if Matthew will ever have full verbal capabilities (we hope he will!), we are planning as though he won't. Hope for the best and plan for the worse, as it may be.