As the parent of a child with special needs, you are faced with the delays of your child, which sometimes makes it feel as thought certain things will never happen.
He’s never going to walk.
She’s never going to talk.
He’ll never be out of diapers.
Parents of children with special needs know all to well the long wait for milestones to occur. I was walking hand-in-hand through the parking lot at daycare with my son, who is four, the other day. As we walked it occurred to me that this really was a triumph. First of all there was a time I swore he’s never walk and at well past two he finally did. Then, for more than a year, getting him to walk holding your hand was an ordeal. It took 15 to 20 minutes every day to get from his classroom to the car. I had two options: give in and carry him or just keep trying day after day, week after week, month after miserable month. I took the latter route, which wasn’t much fun, but finally it paid off. Now, most of the time, we do what we call nice walking to the car.
As the parent of a child with special needs, it is always helpful to hear from other parents when the “never” finally happens, so here are some stories from other mothers of children with Down syndrome.
“Having a child with Down syndrome you never know what you are up against,” says Lisa Myers. “Kingston is taking speech therapy and he is able to communicate with those close to him, however, we have to translate for others. I couldn’t wait to hear that sweet voice say ‘I love you mommy.’ Now he says it all the time and includes a random ‘I miss you mommy.’”
Maureen Wallace agrees. She never thought her son would say Mom.
“He doesn’t. He says “Mum,” like we’re British. I love it! It took more than three years, but was so worth it.” When he gets mischievous at nap time removing this clothing and diaper for kicks, his simple get out of jail free card is to simply say, Mum. “All anger and frustration melted away immediately,” she admits.
Jenn Scott never thought her son would be able to control food on a spoon. Items like applesauce and yogurt were a challenged. He recently mastered this skill with much celebration from mom. “Now we can give him some applesauce and not fear all of us being covered in it.”
Corey Coggins simply wanted to take her daughter Avery to the movies. “I never thought she would watch a full movie in a theater, seated, then be able to tell me the characters, parts of the movie and sing the songs. She did it and understood on her level. So much involved in all this.”
As parents of children with special needs we celebrate each other’s milestones because it helps us see the light at the end of the tunnel in front of us.
Jill Wagoner is the mother of a child with Down syndrome. She serves as an advocate, writer, speaker, fundraiser, and grant writer for organizations that support children with special needs. A former journalist and current marketer and public relations specialist, Jill has been published in many publications and blogs, including The Salisbury Post, Modern Parent, Salisbury Life and Rowan Magazine.