I have decided that instead of wallowing in pity (and that may be slightly over-dramatic terminology) over Tera's lack of communication, we are just going to tackle it head on. I have been working with Tera for several days on just one specific body identification: nose. We practice finding my nose and then her nose and we go back and forth. I put her hand on my nose and say "Mama's nose" and then we move her hand to her nose and I say "Tera's nose". We do this as many as ten times back forth and then I let go of her hand and ask, "Where's mama's nose?" The first time she put her hand on my nose, I almost cried. It's really the first sign of communication and understanding that I've seen yet. I'll ask her repeatedly until she seems to lose interest. Then, at random times without practicing, I'll ask where my nose is and most of the time she'll put her hand on either my nose or her nose.
My plan is try to practice this for a few more days and then add in tummy to the routine. I've made sure to use all our routine words repeatedly with her, using signs when I know them, and trying to incorporate her hands into it as much as possible.
I'm still very anxious to see her sign something. I feel like Tom and I are doing a pretty good job with signing as much as we can and trying to get our family to do it with her as well. It's difficult to determine whether or not she understands the signs because she hasn't responded in any way to them.
So there's our progress for this week. She's still not sick although while her cough doesn't seem as frequent, it does still sound just as bad. She's also incredibly noisy while drinking. It makes me wonder about a swallow study where they test to see if she's aspirating any of her liquids. I've wondered about it before but while trying not to sound like a nutcase, I haven't said anything to anyone yet. I may be consulting my sister's many resources at the AAP very soon here...