This post revolves around Jordys speech delay. He was basically completely mute until he was about 5 years old.
I remember I used to ask Jordan’s speech therapist (probably every weekly session) whether my child would ever talk. She used to tell me that she couldn’t answer that question, although I must admit she did so in such a caring manner (Thank you Catherine, you were so amazing not only with Jordy but with me too 🙂 ).
I was so desperate to have my child speak that I think I just wanted confirmation from someone that this would in fact happen! (Given the different levels of Autism I can understand why a therapist cannot confirm this). But that didn’t stop me asking almost every lesson!!! (Sorry Cath).
I remember how we started off trying to get eye contact etc with holding toys by our eyes for Jordy to look at us. When he eventually started making eye contact it was huge. Getting off the topic slightly I must mention a funny experience I had this year…..We got a puppy for the boys, and we started puppy training. To get the dog to focus we hold “treats”up by our foreheads/eyes to get the dog to look into your eyes….This caused me to smile – as it seemed I now had a dog on the spectrum too 🙂 It enabled me to smile and remember how far we have actually come and how great our accomplishments have been.
I also remember the hurtful moments but I am able to reflect back on them and smile because we didn’t give up. I was also given the strength to rise above these – thank you Lord.
One such moment that stands out in my mind, probably due to my desperation to have my child speak was at his play school (when he was about 4.5 years old) and I fetched him the one day. This other mom was fetching her son at the same time. I watched and heard how he was rambling on and on telling his mom about his day. How I wished my child could do the same! And as this mom put her son into her car, he was still excitedly talking and I was putting my silent child into my car. She looked at me and said “You know Debbie, you are so lucky, when you get into your car there is just silence”. I just looked at her completely speechless, did she seriously not understand the miracle she had? Did she seriously not realise that that was all that I wanted? Did she seriously not appreciate a child that could do the basics?.. I still get a lump in my throat and have watery eyes when I think of this moment, that is how hurt I was.
However, to this day, I believe that the Lord was preparing me to realise the great miracle that was awaiting me. Months passed but whenever I collected Jordy from school after this incident, I did so with a heavy heart, I always watched the other moms chatting with their kids and all I ever got in return was silence – it was so very difficult. I didn’t love my child any less, it was just difficult to watch all of the other chatter.
Then the one day I fetched Jordy from school and he ran across the playground and said “Hello Mommy” Boy did I cry! but for once they were tears of utter joy. And I realised I was present at my very own and very first miracle. This was just when I needed it to happen….. I had hope for the future. Yes, it was only two words and we had a long journey still ahead of us, but they were words none the less and most of all I had Hope for the future.
With the patience and dedication from both his speech and occupational therapists, along with his second mom (his teacher Natalie) Jordan continued making progress.
His therapists suggested moving him from his play school to a little school for Autistic children called Kids First. There, the owner of the school was simply amazing and taught me so much. Thanks Di – your words of advice, encouragement and love for our children, this will never be forgotten. Not to mention the hard work you put in with the facilitators!
Then at age 6/7 Jordy started talking, he was communicating with us! He was answering questions! His tantrums started getting less because he could tell me what was wrong……I no longer needed to dread going to the shops, to have people stare at me thinking I was a bad mother who couldn’t control her naughty child. I stopped driving round and round traffic circles because i couldn’t think of where i was exiting because my child was screaming in the back of the car (I wonder how many men said “oh my word, another woman driver 😉 ) 🙂
I was excited for the future. After being at Kids First for a year he also got accepted into a school that wouldn’t previously accept him because he didn’t meat their criteria. He was making progress and continuing to do so.
I was so thankful – but most of all I remember being thankful to Jordan for teaching me about slowing down to look for those many blessings. The blessings that we don’t realise are out there unless we look for them. For teaching me that if we don’t give up we can succeed! And for allowing me to be a part of the wonderful blessings.
Jordan at Kids First