My son, who was speech delayed, is turning 6 today
The better part of his life, I have been a worried man.
Thinking. Contemplating over how to get him speaking.
Let me be honest.
When he was born, I was really happy that here I had a bouncing baby boy whom I would confide in, gossip to him about women as well as tell him the struggles that a man should be ready to face.
I was disappointed two years later to note that this dream of mine was not going to be easily materialized.
At first, I thought there was nothing to worry about.
In fact so many people consoled me saying that kids develop differently and I need not worry.
There was this group that even asked, “Did he teeth early? Well, if he did, then he is going to have a problem developing speech. It is normal for kids who teeth early to take time to develop speech”.
Some even went on to quote that the likes of Einstein took upto 6 years before they said a meaningful sentence.
And so, I relaxed.
But for a bit because I was still worried about how he would not call me daddy or how he did not respond to his name.
He was also obsessed with the TV and this according to the online research I was consuming was not good.
We also had a problem getting him to use the potty or communicating his needs when he was hungry or thirsty and he would show signs of frustrations.
First forward though as he hits 6 years, I am glad that he speaks.
As he hits this new milestone, here are six lessons I have learnt taking care of him.
- Don’t wait and see, do something
I have countlessly said this before. That the wait and see approach is the worst that any parent should take with their speech delayed child. Why? Because you never know why they are late talkers. It could be anything from hearing problems, receptive language disorder, autism or deafness. So, don’t wait and see!
Visit a medical professional to assess and screen your kid.
On my part, I did take the boy to a speech language pathologist who told me that though the boy had virtual autism due to exposure to too much screentime at a young age, there were hopeful signs that he would speak.
Had I dilly-dallied though, things would have gotten worse.
- Love beats everything
Even when he was not speaking, I came to realize that my son did understand me. So, I needed to intentionally tell him affirming statements.
- Don’t be embarrassed: talk it out with your doctors, parents or like minded parents
You might think that you are alone in your kid’s journey. But you are not. There are so many other parents just like you going through the same challenges that you are going through.
- Cut out the screens
I think this statement might be contentious since most parents swear that the tv helped their kids develop vocabularies but research shows that when a kid is really young before they hit 2 years, don’t have them watch tv.
- Every kid is unique in their own way
Though my son had a problem with speech, he was really good with art at a very tender age. His elder sister, though a chatterbox even from her infanthood, has never mastered drawing. So, there you have it: every kid is special in their own way. Identify what your kid is special in and hone it.
- Whenever you can, help other parents, make the world a better place
My objective in starting this website was to help other parents of speech delayed children. I am really glad that the website has had an impact on a few people who receive my infrequent emails and are trying everything to get their kids speaking.
Most importantly, I am glad that I am now preaching the gospel of doing something. Yes, don’t wait and see!