Monday, June 13, 2016

Getting Real: Parenting a Child with a Speech Delay

After a roller-coaster week of Summer Kindergarten Transition, I decided to finally write down some thoughts I've been having all school year long. I'm adding this to my series of "getting real".
Clayton will be 5 in July & we've know for almost 2 years that he's been speech delayed.  He was tested through the state and started in pre-school and let me tell you- we were blessed with an amazing team from his teacher, his aides, and his therapists.  He came so far from being in pre-school with specialists around him. But there's still room for improvement...and that's where the frustration and disheartenment creeps in.  Let me preface this by saying, Clayton is the sweetest most loving boy I've ever known, and I'm not saying that just because I'm his Mom!  He will compliment you, thank you, call or sir or ma'am and hug you goodbye all meeting you for the first time.  He makes me so extremely happy every single day.  
Having a child who is delayed, in whatever area it may be, can pull at your motherly emotions whenever you you think about where they should be.  After Clayton was first analyzed/observed, I remember crying feeling like I had failed as a mother.  Here was the only job I had to do, and I hadn't even done it correctly and needed other's help.  Lots of help.  Help with things I don't know how to do.  And honestly, the feelings have never really disappeared. They're just now accompanied by hope, motivation and pride.  
Does it sound like a roller coaster? Probably because it is.  Sometimes it's a daily one, other times I can stay at a the high point for days or weeks. One of the things that most often makes my heart ache is hearing other kids Clayton's age having conversations with their parents or trying to have conversations with him. Because they're normal conversations, and complete sentences versus Clayton needing prompting to "fill in" words between his main idea words.
But you know what?  He is so happy.  He is full of life and energy.  He is social and active and has no physical limitations.  Sometimes things beyond our capabilities happen with no fault of our own.  Clayton loves with a fierceness, and I instilled that in him.  I have helped him develop so many other incredible qualities.  So for now, I try to focus on those high points of this roller coaster.  Because, "this too shall pass".  There IS so much constant improvement and development that I need to remind myself that many others aren't doing.  
And so to you mothers, who maybe feel like you didn't or aren't doing it are because you are loving them with a strong, fierce love that is irreplaceable.  You may shed some tears after you put them to bed, or sneak a piece of chocolate to help get you through your day, and that's okay.  Without the lows, we wouldn't appreciate the highs.  And boy, are there so many amazing high points!!  They will never stop needing you, and being there for them is the greatest challenge we may ever be blessed with.

image sources: one // two // three

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