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My Kid Has A Speech Delay. Here’s What I Want You To Know.

My Kid Has A Speech Delay. Here’s What I Want You To Know.

I realized my son had a speech delay when I picked him up from daycare when he had just turned two, and all of his friends said goodbye using his first name. My son couldn’t even say his own first name, but his friends could say their names as well as the names of every other kid in the class. I asked his teacher if she thought he was behind in speech. Within a couple weeks, his daycare’s director met with me to start a referral for speech therapy.

At first, I was a little taken aback when I realized he was not progressing at the same rate as his peers. But over time, I’ve learned to accept this is his path, and I love my son for who he is, speech delay and all. I wouldn’t change anything about him. I just want him to know how amazing he is, and that his parents are here to support him and work together to navigate his challenges.

I struggled with a speech delay as a kid, too. I remember how frustrated I got knowing exactly what I needed to say, but not being able to say it. The words that came out of my mouth sounded different aloud than how they sounded to me in my head. I remember feeling misunderstood and just simply feeling “different” from my peers. I was diagnosed when I was 2 and worked with a speech therapist until I was 7.

It really helped, and now as an adult, I don’t experience any difficulties. And so I understand very well how my son sometimes feels, not being able to articulate what he’s feeling. And I’m really glad that I’m his mom, so I can help guide him navigate this path.

It amazes me what he can do and how he has learned to communicate. After a few months of speech therapy, he has become more confident in his interactions with us. At 28 months old, he can now identify every color of the rainbow. Even though he still can’t say the color “orange” for example, I know he still understands. We will find a way to develop his verbal skills.

He loves to make people laugh. He’s not old enough to crack jokes, but he’s constantly saying silly things by repeating words, making animal sounds, and making goofy faces. Sometimes I understand what he’s saying, and other times I have no idea, but I still think he is hilarious nonetheless.

For his 2nd birthday, we celebrated at a pizza place because we thought he loved pizza. For a good two weeks before his birthday, he would say “bee-sha” over and over, which we thought meant “pizza” because that rhymes. We found out “bee-sha” actually means “Baby Shark,” after seeing my son point to a Baby Shark book and yelling “BEE-SHA!” We found out at his birthday party he didn’t even like pizza, because we couldn’t get him to eat a single bite. What he really loved was Baby Shark.

Sometimes it seems like we have what feels to be our own secret language. A knock on any door means he wants me to open it. If he brings me his shoes, it means he wants to go play outside. “Uh oh” really means “help me please.” A hug means “I love you” or “thank you.”

As parents, we still might not always get it right, and that’s okay. And for the times we don’t get it right, we will have funny stories to tell when he is grown.

My son has a heart of gold — something that can be seen and felt. He can light up a room without saying a word. He has taught me a new way of looking at the world, and I wouldn’t change a thing about him.

Madison is a teacher, a firefighter wife, and a mom of two young boys. An INFJ, she is obsessed with Myers-Briggs and probably wants to know your type, although she might be too awkward to ask. When Madison isn’t working, writing for Scary Mommy, or taking care of her boys, you can find her traveling, reading, and trying out new recipes.

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