Right now, my husband and I are in an “in between” state with lots of questions about our 4 year old son. It’s the kind of state where I’ve lost sleep and driven myself crazy by going deeper and deeper on the internet trying to become more informed. It’s the kind of state that has made me question if I’ve done something wrong as a parent, not provided something for our child that he needed.
Our son started a PreK class this year with a known speech delay. Last year, we couldn’t go to unfamiliar, crowded, or loud places. He would become inconsolable or frightened or cover his ears with his hands. After working with a speech therapist and attending a speech immersion class for a semester he made massive progress. His pediatrician felt that we would not have seen so much advancement so quickly if he had an underlying diagnosis. She felt that he has an anxious personality and with time and us continuing to work with him, he would catch up and be fine.
He started PreK strong but over time the bigger class and not clicking with the teacher has started to become overwhelming for him. The school wants to do some more evaluations to see if he may need more help or if there is something else going on. They went ahead and told us to be prepared for “autism” to come up so we won’t be shocked if it does. And that’s where we are now.
All I want is to help him succeed.
We are going to go through with the evaluations the school is suggesting. I don’t care if he has an additional diagnosis besides a speech delay or not. I am willing to hear any information that may help us to help him have more successful school and life experiences. At the same time, I appreciate his doctor’s willingness not to rush into a diagnosis.
What did I do or not do?
Did I cause his speech delay? Was there something more I could have done when he was younger? Do we need to just give him more time? Is there another factor at play? I’ve asked myself these questions a million times.
I’ve even been down a slippery slope after watching too many Netflix documentaries wondering if it was the fluoride in tap water I drank or BPA in plastic I’ve used. I hope it isn’t my fault, but I have tried and will continue to try to do my best for my son.
Nothing is wrong with my child.
We live in a day and age where we get easily offended, I know. I have had a few people tell me they do think there is something else “wrong” with my child. I am going to continue to try to keep the mama bear inside me tame when I hear this. Instead of following through on my initial instinct I will try to be one of those graceful people who offers teaching moments.
We have read his favorite books to him so often, even when he was a baby, that the binding on them has cracked. Once at church, where he has the hardest time, someone accused me of holding him too much. But if I didn’t he would become unmanageable, and we wouldn’t be able to be there at all. I’m all for the village mentality, but man, people can be bold. Some people have said we didn’t MAKE him talk. But since having our second child who is a chatterbox and knowing we didn’t do anything different, I think maybe kids are just born different.
Just because my son does not talk as much as his peers does not mean he doesn’t understand everything going on around him. He has unique perspectives and answers. It just may take him a little longer to share. He walks into school every day by himself, fist bumps the PE teacher on the way to class, and smiles at everyone. He took the candy from his stocking at Christmas and wrapped it up to give his best friend as a gift. He takes up for his little sister when she is in trouble.
Whether he has a speech delay or these evaluations suggest something additional, there is nothing wrong with my son because he doesn’t fit into someone else’s idea of what “right” is. He is thoughtful, smart, and kind.
There is nothing wrong with that.