If you’re reading this post with tears rolling down your cheeks because your pediatrician just told you your child needs speech therapy, go get a tissue and take a deep breath. You’ll be fine. If you’re reading this because you secretly fear your child is having developmental issues in regards to speech & language, keep on reading. I’m not an autism expert, nor am I a medical professional. I’m just a mom who has “been there and done that” when it comes to this topic.
My reason for writing this post is two-fold. First, it’s my way of honoring and promoting Autism Awareness Day. Second, I want to reassure parents that the delays your child might have are not your fault and you need to put your ego aside in order to what’s best for him or her.
Some parents are comfortable accepting the fact that their toddler isn’t reaching language milestones. Others would rather live in denial thinking their child is just a “late bloomer” and any day now it will all “click.” Before my oldest was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, my husband and I did a little bit of both. We realized he wasn’t talking and interacting like he should, but at the same time he was our first child – we had no idea what to expect. We kept thinking he’d start talking more next month or next month or next month. If it wasn’t for one of his Mother’s Day Out teachers bringing his communication issues to our attention in a rather blunt way, I’m not sure what we would’ve done.
It’s hard to stay on point in this post because there is so much info to share. The point is if you think your toddler might need help talking, interacting with peers and communicating ideas, there’s nothing wrong with seeking help from a speech therapist. If the therapist evaluates your child and says all of his or her issues are totally within the norm, then you have nothing to worry about. If the therapist thinks your child does need help, start as soon as possible. The worst part about getting my son’s diagnosis was realizing he could have gotten help much sooner.
You want to help your toddler before he or she becomes a preschooler. You would much rather deal with speech issues prior to kindergarten. And there is no shame in having a child in therapy whether it’s speech therapy or OT therapy. You didn’t pass on a “stupid” gene to your child or do something wrong during pregnancy. Nobody blames you for having a child with speech delays. And it’s nothing to be embarrassed about either! Your pride should always take a backseat to your child’s ability to thrive. Always! People are much more understanding and accepting than you think. Trust me!
You can learn exactly how speech therapy helps by reading a few testimonials from other parents here. Occupational therapy is also important for children with ASD and autism, although many children without autism also require OT therapy to help them with gross and fine motor skills. If your toddler flops around on the floor a lot or walks on tip-toes or skips around a lot – I guess you could say if they don’t walk with purpose, he or she might need OT therapy as well.
It may seem like a big deal now, but a few months down the road, this will be a blip on the radar. Your child will start making progress quickly and before you know it, the strides foward will outweigh the milestones misses.