‘Aight, so let’s shoot straight about the whole child therapy thang. Recently a friend of mine asked on facebook if she should seek help for her daughter, who is three, because she has a stuttering problem that seems to be getting worse. She wasn’t sure if this is something that her daughter would grow out of. I am no expert, but here is my experience about this whole, developmental progress thing.
Like I mentioned in this post my little Kacen seemed to be progressing fine for two years then he started to retrogress. I started to notice he wasn’t talking and all of his peers were. I mentioned this to some family and friends and most people said things like, “He is only three.” “Some kids are late bloomers, you know Jeanie up the street had a son who didn’t talk til he was five, not a word then one morning at breakfast he asked for bacon and eggs!” “Oh he will pick things up soon enough just give it time.” Yes, in some cases these things are true. And I do feel that in some ways we are too quick to rush our kids off to this or that specialist. But I also think that sometimes people are just trying to be nice and optimistic.
Heck I did it for a long time. When Kacen was two, nearing three, and still not using very many words I kept rationalizing, “Well when he is three, if he isn’t using A LOT of words then I will get help.” No one wants to feel like their kid is not “normal.” I believe most parents look at their kids and have high hopes and dreams for them. I often envisioned that Kacen would be such a cool kid, with lots of friends, he’d be super funny and smart, maybe even his Senior Class President, haha all the things I wanted for myself but drew up a little short on. Sort of silly things, but you know, I want him to be liked and to have friends. When your child is not up to par developmentally we all know that sometimes those social situations can be very difficult. Not to mention that in some ways I didn’t want to admit that he wasn’t “normal.” Often times we do that for other people, we just want to be so optimistic that their child will be “normal” or “fine” that we don’t want to offer the suggestion of seeking help.
My sister, K’Leena (who we have been hearing from), has a beautiful daughter Emily. Em is about a year older than Kacen and has also struggled with her speech and developmental milestones. So K’Leena told me right away to at least go get things check out. I drug my feet for a while but that third birthday was creeping up so I started the process of testing. And yep, the state took Kacen into their program right away for his speech and other developmental delays.
You know, Ky and I kept holding Kacen up to some imaginary line of normalcy. And our frustrations would mount when he wasn’t doing what we thought he aught to be able to do. However, recently K’Leena said something to me that was sort of profound and really made me re-evaluate how we treat Kacen and his skill level. She said, “I had to be honest with myself, Emily may never talk, but that is ok, whatever Emily does will be her normal, and that is the only standard she needs to be held to.”
We are lucky and Kacen is making marked improvements in his speech and behavior but K’Leena was totally right, as long as Kacen is working his hardest and we are exhausting our efforts to help him achieve his best, what he does will be his normal and I need to be ok with that. Optimism is great, but I have learned not to hold too many visions of what my kids will be, instead I should nurture who they are now. Kace is such a special kid, just so sweet and so energetic, we love him to pieces. Feeling at peace with his skill level has really opened my heart, it has really lifted a burden that I feel in this competitive world. Yeah it is scary to think that my kid might get teased because of his speech but that is why I need to work right now to help him feel and know that our home is a safe place, a place of refuge, love and happiness.