FatherSon Ventures

Building a Relationship through Adventure

A Regular Mom

Written By: Scot Butwell - Jan• 04•13


lydiaThe next week D and I met a woman named Lydia at a toy store. We were the only customers in the store, so I struck up a conversation with her as D played with a plush Super Grover.

We got onto the topic of her 12-year-old son after talking about D for a few minutes. She mentioned how her son had not started talking until he was five, and how nervous she used to feel about her son not speaking.

“I worried a lot that it was taking him so long for to talk,” she said. “But I knew eventually he would. I used to think, ‘What am I doing wrong that he’s not talking?’ I guess he decided in his own time when he wanted to talk.”

“Did you think–or do you think–there was anything you could do to help him talk?”

“Back when he was five–your son’s age–I didn’t think there was anything I was doing wrong. But looking back at it now, I think that I could have prompted him to speak more.

“How could you prompted him to speak more? I think I read about that recently in a book.”

“Well, whenever he pointed at something, I could have told him what it was instead of just giving it to him.”

“Yeah, that’s what I read in a book. Do you think there was a reason your son didn’t speak and, at what age, did your son start to talk more?”

“My son was an only child, and our neighborhood did not have a lot of kids his age. He started talking and interacting with kids in his developmental kindergarten class. The other kids didn’t understand why my son wasn’t speaking, but once he was around them every day, he gradually began to talk more. And towards the end of kindergarten, he really started talking a lot more.”

Towards the end our conversation, I asked her what she would you say to parents–like myself–with children who have developmental delays.

“I think every child is different. But every child is their own little person, and when they’re ready, they will start talking or riding a bike. You can’t push a button and speed it up. You just have to be patient. Some kids get it right away, and some kids it just takes them awhile. When my son was young, he was tested and they wanted to give a label for why he wasn’t talking, and put him on medication. I said, ‘no way.’ Being home with him, I could see him thinking, doing things, building. It was just that his talking was a little behind. I think there are so many parents pushing their children for what they’re not ready for. We want them to be just like every child, but they can only be what–and where–they’re at developmentally. Sometimes, we want to rush things, but they’re not ready to be rushed. They talk when they’re ready to talk. I tell parents all the time, ‘you’re child will get there.’ ”

This is exactly what I needed to her at this point in D’s life–He can only be what–and where–he is at in his development, and I can’t push a button and speed up his development. It was a confirmation of what I’d been thinking–about Albert Einstein and Temple Grandin–after watching D be unable to do the Egg Roll and Stinky Feet.

This is what I must remember, Stay patient and let his development occur at it’s pace and time, as Lydia told me how she kept worrying until he was in the fourth grade. ‘God, i was such as big worry wart,” she said. And I thought, I definitely don’t want to be a worry wart.  So if D is the kid in the back of the class watching everyone else, and it takes him a while to develop socially, I will be fine with as his social development progresses. I would ask him when he came home from school, ‘what did you eat for lunch,’ ‘who did you eat with?,’ ‘who did you play with?’ They were simple questions, and I knew the answers, but I wanted to get his mouth going with words. And his social development progressed with his speaking more.

——————————

Q:  When did you stop worrying about your son?

A: It’s definitely taken me awhile, I didn’t stop worrying when his was in kindergarten, first grade, second grade, or third grade. Even when he was in the fourth grade, I still worried. Honestly, it’s taken me until now that he’s in middle school, believe it or not.  Right now, he’s in the sixth grade, and I feel like I don’t need to worry as much. I look back and think, ‘God, I was a big worry wart.’ I worried the most when he was little because I wanted him to know how to ask for something, like if he needed to go to the bathroom. Me, as a parent, I could read his mind or eyes, but I was concerned that he couldn’t express what he wanted to other people.

Q:  How do you feel your son’s lack of talking may have affected his social development?

A: He definitely was the kid in the back of the class watching everyone else, and it took him awhile to develop socially from being a late-blooming talker. I would ask him when he came home from school, ‘what did you eat for lunch,’ ‘who did you eat with?,’ ‘who did you play with?’ They were simple questions, and I knew the answers, but I wanted to get his mouth going with words. And his social development progressed with his speaking more.

Q: How is your son doing now?

A:  He’s doing really good now. He’s in a magnet program which means you’re either advanced or a high-achieving student. He speaks well, but his still has a problem once in a while of missing a word. He will say a sentence, and I repeat his sentence and put that word in. He’s come a long way, and I’m happy where he’s at now. I’m so proud of him.

Q: Any final thoughts you have on your experience with your son?

A:   I want to stress that I am just a regular mom. When my son was young, he was tested and they wanted to give a label for why he wasn’t talking, and put him on medication. I said, ‘no way.’ Being home with him, I could see him thinking, doing things, building. It was just that his talking was a little behind. I think there are so many parents pushing their children for what they’re not ready for.  We want them to be just like every child, but they can only be what and where they’re at developmentally.

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