The moment your toddler recognises the McDonald’s sign, points at it and shouts ‘chip’. It’s probably not a moment that is high up most parents proud moments list. But for us it is! As a parent to a child with a speech and communication delay this is MASSIVE!
That she can now take us into the kitchen, point to the cupboard where she knows they are not very well hidden and ask for a ‘geetie’ means we don’t want to tell her no. Hearing her little voice say ‘dank doo’ will make me want to give her anything she asks for.
Having a child with a speech delay brings absolute joy and heartbreak in equal measures. My boys speech developed normally. Ava’s did too till it faultered. She stopped saying words she could say, she stopped making eye contact and responding to us and she stopped pointing and trying to communicate with us. Alarm bells were ringing and it was a really worrying time!
We still don’t know what caused it apart from intermittent glue ear. Whatever the cause she now is significantly behind her peers, behind where she should be for her age.
It made me embarrassed for a while. Not wanting to take her to toddler groups which she actually needs more than ever. The constant comparison and ‘my child can do this’ boasting became too much. I didn’t want to have to explain why Ava was crying with frustration, overwhelmed by the noise and screaming rather than just saying no. I didn’t want to deal with the silent stares from other parents and hushed conversations we weren’t invited too.
So you may well see us squealing with delight at our toddler doing something your little one has been doing for ages.
Hear us encouraging the budding speech that is slowly beginning to grow from our beautiful daughters lips.
Watch us cry with laughter at her little quirky ways.
I hope James is right and there will be a day where I can’t imagine ever having to worry about her speech!