In the academic world, we hear about a strategy called "wait time" quite often. The idea is to ask a question and wait a few seconds for all students to process before calling on someone to give an answer. In the same sense, we are taught to use "wait time" with our deaf children who are learning to listen, to give them input and wait for a response, instead of modeling the response right away. Some like to call it the "power of pause." An example is to ask Lucas, "how big is Lucas?" and wait for him to raise his arms and vocalize before imitating it and answering "so big!"
I like to think of the last 8 1/2 months as "wait time extended." We have given constant spoken language input and just waited. And waited. And waited. And given more input and waited some more for a response. And right now, 8+ months post activation, he's really starting to give it back. Sometimes I thought these days would never come.
Before Lucas was implanted, I always secretly hoped that he might have really quick success. That hasn't exactly been the case, although he's certainly making progress within normal limits. It's sometimes hard to remember that his hearing age is only 8 1/2 months.
I feel like we finally have a toddler on our hands. We have a little boy that can walk and talk. We have a little boy who can intelligibly hear me whisper from 5 feet away. We have a little boy who can overhear the word "hoarse" out of context in a conversation and sign "horse." We have a little boy in front of whom we must spell some words. We have a little boy who can follow one step instructions, like "walk to..." "get the..." and "sit." We have a little boy who finally likes to imitate us both physically and verbally. Today his daddy got him to attempt an /l/ for Lucas!
It's been worth the wait. We couldn't be more thrilled.