Yes, My Middle Daughter Has A Speech Delay:
Beautiful, smart, funny … these would be just some of the words that I would use to describe our middle child. But sometimes people can’t see these qualities in her. Sometimes all they see is her speech delay.
We get it all the time in public when Grace starts to chatter away – ‘How old is she?’ ‘Shouldn’t she be talking more?’ ‘She’s going to be in a lot of trouble when she starts school.’ Or one of my personal favourites ‘You should have put her in daycare.’
Yes, my 3-year-old daughter has a speech delay. Yes, sometimes she is hard to understand. And no your rude comments are not in the least bit helpful or encouraging.
When You Have A Child With A Speech Delay
There are so many worse things that could have been, but when you have a child with a speech delay you still question everything. Was it something that you did? Was it something that you didn’t do? Maybe there is something else deeper that you missed?
And then, of course, you think about what your child is going through. They are essentially trapped inside their own bodies. Unable to verbally communicate their thoughts and feelings to the outside world. You see them get frustrated, and even aggressive sometimes because they just can’t find the words to express themselves. You try to help. You try to help them and other people understand.
In public you just want to walk around with a sign that reads:
My child has a speech delay, not a behavior problem. She can understand everything you are saying to her – and behind her back. And this speech delay is not a result of poor parenting.
Just so you don’t have to explain your child’s frustration and lack of speech to every stranger who seems to think it’s their place to inquire about it.
Sometimes it just feels like you are just fighting an uphill battle that will never be won.
Hold Onto The Good Moments
But then you see the village of family and friends that surround you. They are always asking how they can help and encourage your child. You know they are right there with you. You are not alone.
And you get these little moments where you can see progress in your child’s speech. Maybe it’s a totally new word. Maybe it’s a word that used to be a struggle, but all of a sudden comes out so clear.
You cherish and celebrate each one of these moments. You get emotional at each moment because you know that all these hours of hard work and appointments are paying off. You know that with each of these moments your child breaks out of their shell, the world gets a glimpse of all those amazing qualities you already knew about your child.
Your child gleams with pride each time they reach a new speech goal, and you couldn’t be any prouder of them. And even though there are many uphill battles and struggles, you know you are so blessed to have this amazing child in your life.
This is what it’s like to have a child with a speech delay.
Do you have a child who has a speech delay? Share your story below!