Chris and I both know that we are very blessed to have two healthy and happy pre-schoolers in our lives and we truly are grateful. All the same we have faced a number of challenges over the past year surrounding Jack and his speech therapy and it can seem like a bit of a roller coaster sometimes.
This week a child psychologist came in and provided an assessment and feedback on Jack and his learning needs. The report came back with no red flags towards the spectrum of autism and they are not worried about OCD, however there are some delays in emotional and social development with specific skill deficit areas as well as a hunch that we may be facing some learning disabilities (such as dyslexia, which runs in my family) down the road.
I really wanted to share some things we've learned, felt and experienced in our 16 month journey in the land of speech, language and social development because this is something that people don't really like to talk about, even though they probably should.
Every time you have an appointment, brace yourself for...more appointments
I am currently in the process of booking some time with our doctor to get a referral to a specialist in children's hearing testing and a referral for a private speech therapist so we can apply for some insurance coverage.
A is no longer for Apple...it's for Autism
One thing has been consistent with every single assessment or appointment we've gone to: the first thing that will be talked about is red flags towards the autism spectrum and whether or not they are suspected for your child. If we had $20 for every time we heard, "There were no red flags towards autism, but..." we would have a lot more money for speech therapy.
Expect to be emotional about things...sometimes
I had a big old pity party after the last assessment and left the one last week feeling okay, whereas the hunch about learning disabilities really hit Chris with a sucker punch this time. Not everyone in the family is going to react the same way at the same time. You just need to give yourself permission to feel that way and then move forward.
Enthusiasm is contagious
The more supportive we've been in our efforts with Jack surrounding speech and social development therapy, the harder our daycare staff and family and friends have worked to help us work with Jack. People want to help, you just need to ask.
People will say things that you don't want to hear
I am very open about our lives and the hurdles that we face as parents. That doesn't mean that it's an open invitation for someone to compare their child's development directly to my children's like it's progress in a race. We all do it, and I'm guilty too, but please, just don't. It hurts, even though I know you mean the best. We can talk, we can share stories...but please don't line your child's achievements up against mine.
You need to keep yourself in check
I didn't realise quite how much pressure I was putting on Molly until Chris called me on it. She had three accidents over the past ten days or so when she didn't make it to the washroom in time, and all three times she was on her way and I was a little harsh with her about it - Chris pointed this out and he was right. It's not fair to put unrealistic expectations on anyone, period.
No one is perfect, Even Mary Poppins
Just because I wish that I was taller doesn't make it so. We become who we are because of the journey, bumps, bruises, struggles and everything else included. Just keep perspective. Most of the time issues you're facing as a parent pass, many children outgrow any development delays they experience when they are young, quite possibly Jack as well.
To read what I've learned about managing anxiety, Obsessive tendencies and encouraging speech development click here
To read about our first assessment click here