Hey everyone! This momma requested to remain anonymous for this post – and has chosen to use code names for her children. The important thing is that she is sharing her story of being a mom with 3 kids with Speech Delays! So, without further ado – here’s her story:
Bug was a talker; we joked it was from my side of the family. At 9 months old he was already clearly saying a handful of words; by a year his vocab had grown to 10+ words. You might say “he’s not speech delayed”. I heard all the comments. “He is so smart” and “so independent” but those were the red flags. At 18 months I decided he needed social interaction. He could talk, walk and a mountain of other milestones he blew by;however, he would sit in the corner for hours playing blocks and would get irate if I tried to play with him. One day his preschool teacher approached me. We were stationed at a small base in the middle of Southern Alabama.; the type of place you now only hear about described as “Mayberry”. She was concerned about him. Even by engulfing him in a social environment with peers, bug would sit in a corner all day alone and play. But as it happens often in Army life, we were getting ready to move. And move we did…across a ocean. I preach you are your child’s only advocate.
As soon as we settled I started looking into how to get some seemingly insignificant worries addressed. Like any parent, I didn’t want to believe anything was wrong with my child. That previous March we had already been handed a heartbreak blow when Bug was diagnosed with a rare and life threatening disease. So I knew if anything did come up in evaluations, it could not get any worse. Something did come up, and luckily it was easier to digest. As the evaluators from the free state early intervention program sat there talking to me, I zoned out. My son talks, he walks, he laughs and smiles. He superseded every milestone by 2-4 months. Try finding shoes for a 8 month old! However, I was one of those parents. I missed things. He talked, but couldn’t say more than 2-3 words at a time. He walked, but he couldn’t do stairs, or walk backwards or jump. He smiled but couldn’t look anyone in the face; like he eyes were glued to the floor. And he was 3. Speech and OT therapy was started ASAP. He started to thrive even more. Eventually he was diagnosed with PDD-NOS and enrolled in a special education preschool. He now attends school in a regular general education class. So you would think I learned my lesson- Don’t assume everything is all sunshine and rainbows even though your child is meeting milestones and seemingly normal. Some of you may have decided that everything my son did was normal and needed no attention. Some may even go as far as saying I’m the one who was seeking the attention. Fine, I admit, I was. I was seeking attention for my son. No one else wanted to help him. He was too seemingly normal for most doctors. But a mama always knows. Which is how I also knew, my two daughters had speech delays and other undiagnosed issues as well.
What has worked the best is sign language. I didn’t think to much about the possibility of my middle child having the same issues as our first. She was delayed on EVERY milestone. It was actually honestly annoying! Just walk already, geeze kid. Lucky for us, we were already surrounded by a team of therapists of Bug who oversaw and watch Diva as she grew. It was no surprise to me when they asked if I had any concerns. Of course I did. She was 2.5 and only said “dad”. Maybe I was in denial about her progress. Maybe I was trying not to face that fact of having two special needs kids. But what I didn’t do was address her delays before they went unattended for too long. So when SB failed to talk, I jumped into action. It may only be two signs I taught her, but at least by teaching them to her at a early age has helped tremendously in figuring out some of her needs.