Ayo is two. She doesn't talk much; well not as much as her pediatrician thinks she should be. I never found this to be an issue until after our return from our two-month trip to England earlier this year. We came home to red alerts. A seasonal cold warranted her a trip to the doctor where her sitter was told she was delayed in speech and those were possible signs of autism. Imagine sitting at a new job with work-related stress trying to come up to speed and you receive a call of this nature. I was physically sick. This information tormented me. Had I not done a good job as a mother? Better yet, had I failed as a parent?
We were referred to an early intervention specialist who comes to the house once a week to help with developmental challenges. It takes about two months for them to start the work after the initial processing, or at least it did for us. Over the last 2 months, Ayo has met with a specialist to help her with these needs. Not being able to verbally communicate and be understood leads to frustration from both her and me. Although she doesn't say many words, Ayo has superb cognitive and listening skills. I personally think it's a phase that requires attention and structured learning.
I'm doing the best I can to protect, provide, and pour positive energy into my child. I choose to handle it my way, with love and care. All kids grow at different rates, and I acknowledge that, however her speech delays will not be the deciding factor of her worth. She has two ears that hear perfectly well, and whether you know it or not she's listening. So I ask that doctors and healthcare professionals understand that our children don't need to hear that they are undeveloped; I do not need her to believe this. Their opinion is welcomed but it's not final.
Some other steps I'm taking to help her along this journey is reading one or two books each night, and repetition of repeating familiar words. Also, I painted half her bedroom wall with chalk paint, where I write positive messages and draw photos to bring light into her life.
This wasn't something I was prepared to handle, but it's teaching me the extent of a mothers love has no boundaries. We'll get through this together.