Delayed Speech- An Eye Opening and Exciting Journey
A problem that a lot of small kids are facing these days is delayed speech. Well my son too has this issue and its working with him now that has given me the courage to write this post and share it with all those parents who are as worried as me.
The very first thing that any parent who has a child with delayed speech needs to understand is there is nothing wrong with your child. It’s just we have to find a different way to make them understand the need to talk and then use a different way to teach them how to talk. My son wouldn’t talk but his one little peter pointer was enough. With just one finger he would get all that he wants. The doctors told us to turn blind and not respond to his finger actions. They were correct but it was very frustrating for him and he further went into a shell.
The biggest mistake I made was to wait until he was three. A little bit of denial is always there and our egos play a part in this too. Finally, one day I decided that I cannot teach my son as I don’t know how to get across to him. Here I began visiting different doctors and experts. And here is a snippet of what I learnt.
Eye Contact: – Guidance doesn’t always come from the best, most expensive and most experienced. Guidance came to me from a lady who is not even a doctor. The first thing she told me is that my son is not maintaining eye contact. Children learn by mimicking us adults that’s why it’s very important to watch our mouths and our actions in front of our kids. It took me a good two months before he started looking at me, straight back into my eyes. Which brought us to the next problem, he would look at me or his dad but eye contact with others was just not needed in his dictionary.
Speech Therapy: – Once the eye contact settled a little I started taking him to speech classes. He started saying the sounds of alphabets but still no breakthrough. Whenever I drive and there is a nice driving etiquette followed by a fellow driver I shout out a thank you. Once we crossed a gate and the driver there smiled at my son and he shouted back thank you……. it sounded more like a ting tong but I knew he said thank you and sure I was thrilled.
Speech therapy at home: – With this little progress my next stop was meeting Mrs. Vijaya. She is an expert in this field and works in SMF hospital, Anna Nagar, Chennai. Meeting her changed my life. She told me no regular speech therapy classes for him. If you want your son to talk then you need to work for it. She taught me how to convert each concept into small games and make it interesting for my son. Every day we sit for an hour and work and then report to her once in two months.
These are few things that I have learnt from my experience: –
- This can happen to any kid.
- It’s in our hands to accept it and find ways to help them.
- Patience is a must.
- Never give up, breakthrough is always there and it’s just right around the corner.
- Daily work will help your child even though it is monotonous for you.
- Think out of the box.
- Use every opportunity to spend time with your kid.
- A lot of cuddling and cajoling is always good.
- Use anything that your child likes as a medium of teaching.
- Find tasks that you and your child can do together.
- Being around nature helps them and us in many ways.
- The computer and the World Wide Web are more than a blessing; use it to help your child get to the next stage of life.
- Be ready to learn from anyone, a parent of an autistic child or a dyslexic child can also help you.
- Don’t brand your child and don’t fight his/her battles.
- Trust in your child and yourself.
This is a just a stumbling block in your child’s life. A little help from our side and then just see them blossom into little adults who can speak their own mind.
I am happy to tell everyone today that from not uttering a word, to saying small words, to just echoing our words, to making sense, to arguing with us. This is the journey that my son and I have undertaken together and surely it’s been difficult but is worth it. Is the journey over? Not yet. There is still more for me to work with him and there is still more for him to learn and speak but we are getting there one step at a time.