In 2007, my almost three-year old boy was diagnosed with a developmental delay. We first realized something was going on when by 2.5 he was not saying a whole lot. He could say a handful of word such as “mama” or “ball”but he was not talking like the other 2.5 year olds we knew.
I don’t remember being terribly upset about this. I knew that if we knew what was wrong it would be a lot easier to get him help. He started a developmental preschool right away. At age 5.5 when we moved to Tennessee he started extra speech therapy and started in a special needs Kindergarten class. The next year he repeated Kindergarten in a regular classroom.
He is now 9.5 and only needs a little bit of speech help at school. He dropped the DD label last April. They told us in 2007 that around 2nd grade he would probably be caught up. That is pretty much true. While he is by no means a “mature” 9.5 year old, he is right where he needs to be school wise. His special needs were very hard from ages 2.5-around 6. I remember trying to talk to my 5.5 year old boy about his day and he couldn’t have a conversation with me. It broke my heart, it really did. But now at 9.5, we can talk about most things. I will never forget those years.
I have friends whose children are very young who are just starting the speech process. I am glad that I can be there to support them as we have already gone through what they are about to. To let them know that their own child is going to be just fine.
In 2012, his brother who was 5 at the time, was diagnosed with Asperger’s. This was going to be a whole different special needs ball game. You don’t grow out of Asperger’s like you do a Developmental Delay. It is who my son is. Luckily we were able to start therapy with him right away.
It’s been two years and we have had so many ups and downs. He just finished the 1st grade and academically he is at the top of his class. Socially andbehaviorallywe have a long way to go. I have heard from Moms with kids with Asperger’s that it will get better. That he will figure out how to act, how to control his anger, that he won’t always expect to always get his own way. Some days it seems like we will never get there. I also have to remind myself that things are different for our little family. In some ways we can make life normal, in others we have to adjust a little bit.
That is one of the hardest parts about being a special needs parent.
Being able to accept that the vision you had for your family, is not going to be your reality.
And it might be farther off that you could have ever dreamed. That situations you thought would be easy, become a big challenge. That you cry more than you thought you might. That some days you question what you did wrong to cause it, even if it had nothing to do with you. You can’t help it. Your mind just keeps turning, trying to make peace with it all.
And I remember that I am really not alone in all this. There are others going through what we go through, there are others that have it much worse. At the end of the day, I look at my little family and feel in my heart that everything is the way it is supposed to be. That being a special needs mom is just who I am. That some days it will be hard and others will be a little easier. That really, there is no such thing as normal. It is just a setting on the dryer 😉