I get asked often about why I don’t discuss my son’s ‘developmental delays’ on here, as if by not writing about them I am exhibiting a sense of shame or denial. I’ve actually brought it up a few times when discussing his school curriculum or products that I use at home to assist me in his at-home education, however, it just never occurred to me to focus my writing around his challenges.
I have this issue where my nerves get set off when a parent refers to their child with the unnecessary extension of their disability. I don’t think I would ever be comfortable introducing my son as, “my tot – who has developmental delays/disabilities.” I wouldn’t really like it if my husband introduced me as, “This is my wife, who has Pernicious Anemia and Hypothyroidism.” Though, if someone were to ask why my son did a certain thing or why he has multiple teachers in a special needs classroom, I would be happy to explain. I just feel that people change their perception of others based on personal information, whether it is to exude a sense of pity or sympathy or in worst case scenarios, dislike. Mostly it is subconscious and/or used as a way to either justify a behavior or excuse it.
I also think that for most of us that have children with delays, disabilities, difficulties, etc. it has become our new normal and most often regularities in other children seem quite odd. My husband and I love to muse over the benefits of my tots disposition towards things! Here are 10 positive things most would consider abnormal for a child my son’s age!
- He does not throw a fit if he doesn’t get something since he doesn’t expect to get something unless we say we are going to get it. If we tell him to put something back at a store, he will.
- He doesn’t throw a fit when we leave a place, regardless of where it is. If it is time to go he will be the first one to want his coat or be ready to tell Mommy & Daddy it’s time to leave.
- He always goes to bed when it’s time to go to bed. We’ve only had a handful (in 4 years!) problems getting him to sleep during the afternoon, otherwise he is ready to go to bed at bedtime with a cheerful happy face!
- He always takes a bath and brushes his teeth and has never, ever, argued doing either of them.
- He rarely, if ever, refuses to eat what is on his plate. There are only a few foods he doesn’t like. If he refuses to eat and/or doesn’t eat a lot then we know he’s getting sick, that’s how rare it is!
- He loves, loves, vegetables and fruits.
- He doesn’t like soda, at all. Actually, anything with carbonation makes him very upset.
- He doesn’t eat a lot of sugar, in fact, his favorite drink is water.
- He doesn’t ever start fights, get mad at other kids for taking toys, or throws fits if other kids play with his toys. He’d actually be more than happy to give all his toys to other kids if they’d play with him.
- He doesn’t understand or comprehend meanness.
My son is doing an amazing job with the challenges he faces with communication, which has been our priority goal for many years. His many other delays (cognitive, physical, cooperative, social, etc.) are all being met head on with his wonderful teachers at school and us at home. My little secret goal of hearing him say, “I love you Mommy” without prompting came and went and now he likes to say Mommy is a lot of funny silly things. He is quite the silly joker around here!
At some point (when I find time) I will share fun interactive ways at home that we use (or have used) in order to strengthen his abilities, but all of which I have found useful for children without delays – just at different and varying age groups. So I don’t see them as particular towards children with disabilities and those without.
I suppose what I am getting around to is that my son isn’t defined by his peculiarities. He has an amazing personality despite the hiccups. They are a part of him just as having selective hearing is a part of me, or procrastination is a part of my teen. What encompasses his spirit and his life, are the beautiful things that everyone notices about him without the preconceived idea that something is wrong. Cause there isn’t anything wrong with my son. He was born just as right as he was intended to be and although some things take him a little longer to learn that other people’s children of a same age, he finds his way there with the helping hands that guide him everyday.
I don’t see myself as evasive, there just isn’t a point in placing a caption on a perfectly beautiful piece of art. 🙂