As I’m writing this post, I am doing something I never thought I would be doing. But March is National Developmental Disabilities Awareness month, so I’m writing a post about my child’s developmental delays. That exact thing I’ve done plenty of times before – if you’re a regular reader, you’ve read at least a dozen posts about Sophie’s significant developmental delays and how she overcame them.
But today I’m writing about Jonah. I never thought I’d be writing about Jonah.
Because, you see, when I was first dealing with the depth and devastation of Sophie’s delays, I was pregnant with Jonah. And at that time I had several conversations with both God and my unborn baby about how this child was going to need to develop perfectly typically and hit all those milestones right on time because I knew with certainty that I could not go through this again.
Well. Guess what?
Jonah is behind on speech. I noticed over a year ago he wasn’t talking nearly as much as the other two did when they were his age, and I immediately began worrying about. At his 18-month checkup he was only saying eight words total. Cue mommy freak-out! I tried to tell myself that every kid is different, blah, blah, blah, but I still worried. I tried all kinds of things to get him to talk and build his vocabulary – all the tricks I had up my sleeve from my previous experiences. And it worked – kind of.
He now has a great vocabulary – over 75 words – but he doesn’t use any of those words together. He won’t put two words together and he doesn’t use “yes” or “no” very often – he prefers to fuss or giggle with glee instead of answering with words. Stuff like that. So, knowing that early intervention (we were pretty late with Sophie) is important and that it’s free before they are three years old through Help Me Grow (county program), I made the call to get him evaluated shortly after his two-year well visit in January (his birthday is December 17th).
I didn’t want to. To be perfectly honest, most of me is still just unhappy to be going through this again. And yet, I know it’s no reason to panic. And a fabulously articulated blog post here by Ellen Seidman, a special needs mom and author of Love That Max (and so much more) reminded me the other day that I do NOT need to be freaking out about this. A lot of kids have developmental delays. Sophie’s were pretty significant and yet she conquered hers in half the expected time. There is no need to despair…I just wish I could sail through this one, I guess.
So after a couple months time, an evaluation, paperwork and home visits and all that jazz – Jonah has indeed been qualified for services with a speech delay. His delay is not huge, and it’s nothing like the scope of Sophie’s delays. One of the developmental specialists who evaluated him said, “He’s just on the very edge of where he needs to be.” So, I am feeling encouraged. Tuesday he and I will start a once-a-week class with a handful of other parents and kids. I am really excited about it and am hopeful that by the time he turns three and the program ends, he will be all caught up and not have to go on to special preschool and private therapy like Sophie did. Although if he does, I know that also will be okay. We’ve done before, and will do again, whatever our child needs.
When the significance of Sophie’s delays were first spelled out to me in black and white, I was very fearful. But many of my fears were not about her, but about me. What could I do to help her? I knew nothing about this stuff! I was ill-equipped and ignorant. I was scared, and I was weak.
Several times this week the Bible verse 2 Corinthians 12:9 has been brought to my attention – everywhere I’ve looked it’s been there – in books, on Pinterest graphics and in Facebook statuses. This has always been one of my favorite verses – it’s a nice one, because God says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I mean, what’s not to like about that? But even though I’ve long had that one memorized, I don’t think I ever realized how I’ve seen it applied in my life until I was contemplating writing this post. I realized that, like I stated above, I had very little to offer my daughter when it was time to help her with her delays. I was as weak as I could possibly be in that area. And yet, I did help her. I helped her a ton. Several months after Sophie graduated from speech therapy, I saw her speech language pathologist one day and she told me she had never in her career seen a parent so focused on helping their child.
You guys, that was not me. That was the perfect example of God keeping his Word. Where I was weak, He was strong. He gave me everything I needed to help Sophie, and he gave me the strength to do it.
And so there really is no need to panic about my Jonah. There is only the need to be obedient and willing to do what he needs me to do.
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (That’s the rest of the verse. I didn’t make it up but I do mean it!)
I’ll keep you posted on Jonah’s and my progress. I think we’re both going to learn a lot!