(Raising a child with a speech delay)
Family bonding creates a huge impact to encourage a child to speak. This is what I found out over the last two years.
I’m a mum of a three year-old child with speech delay. And the only place I could take him, instead of going to expensive therapy clinics, is at the four corners of our home and into the church.
How to raise a child who is challenged to communicate? It’s never easy. But, it lead me to such a fulfilling journey of discovering my son’s strengths and challenges. I enjoy writing down and documenting his milestones every single day.
As a parent, I seek for the best therapist in town or the high-end medical facility that can help my child overcome this speech delay stage. But the truth is, we just can’t afford on-going therapy, evaluation, consultations and lots of doctors opinion that costs more than my monthly salary.
I have to read a lot, join groups of parents with speech delay child, and dig up research and findings about related case studies for children with developmental delays. I have to improvise and think of a tactic to let him express the words he wants to say. Just like a blog I wrote about a ‘Puppet Tactic” using the world’s number one self-feeding tool called Mashblox. 👇
It’s not a simple task for a busy working-mum like me. I used to feel guilty for having a lack of time to spend with him the whole day. But, I figured it out how to make it up when I’m home. I’ve researched some effective home therapy and the best app to help my son talk. Just like the updated version of ‘Talking Tom’. Tom repeats what my son is saying so it encourages him to talk more. I bought a wireless microphone to encourage him to sing.
I’ve discovered that the first best place to encourage a child to communicate is at home. It’s where they learn the basics. Honestly, this is the only thing I know and can afford so I have to enhance what I’ve learned from the experts with my background in Psychology.
Our day to day journey has been filled with huge challenges but we hold on tight to our faith that my son will pass this stage in God’s time.
My son is turning four soon. He’s no longer that little cuddle bear I used to rock late at night and feed at three in the morning. So much about the things that I missed when he was a tiny cheeky baby, I’m proudest of his speech improvement and milestones from a chirpy toddler to a little gentleman now. He’s growing up fast and I love how he has developed some of his father’s daily routine like combing his hair, wearing his big shoes and walking around the house like his ‘Dada’ does.
He was 9 months past two years old when I started bringing him to Children’s worship service (PNK). Soon, he’ll be officially included on the list of attendees every Sunday Morning. I’m just so excited as my son takes another milestone in his age.
As a former Children’s Worship Service (CWS) teacher who married a co-CWS teacher in 2014, I’d love to see my son possess good values and learn the right way of worship service at an early age. My husband and I both know the importance of teaching and nurturing a child with the gospel of truth to the kids. And most especially, it’s a vow that we dedicate for him to pass the stage of speech delay.
Our family bonding has turned into precious moments! It’s helping my child express his thoughts through singing, babbling, playing, laughing, and repeatedly talking every single time.
My son can sing high notes now while pretending to hold an improvised mic or a hymnal. It’s true when they say that the child imitates what he sees. One time, I was secretly laughing when I watch him in front of the mirror while pretending to shave his cheeks and chin– like father, like son. Of course, we don’t let him hold a razor but the scene has totally cracked me up.
There are times when I caught my son playing alone with the tiny cars and little bears piled up and he’s seriously making a ’broom-broom’ sound and a loud ‘ahhh’ when one bear is almost falling from the truck. He can express different emotions now, and I love it. He can show love and affection when I pretend to be crying. He could tease me when I’m serious and his giggles are just music to my ears. He can pretend to be crying when he wants our full attention. Then, I’d ease it up for him and cuddle him like I always do when he was little.
Our family has been challenged with my child’s speech delay but it doesn’t stop us right there. We have to create little happy memories to help him overcome this stage. We always encourage him to express his thoughts, anger, disappointment, sadness, and joyfulness. Let him deal with his feelings but help him understand difficulties by rubbing his back and giving him a kiss on his forehead and a big hug.
He can’t speak clearly but he leads the prayer before we go to sleep. (We still have to decode what he prayed for last night)😁
He can’t speak well but he listens carefully and behave inside the church. (Take note: he behaves better than the older kids)😉
He doesn’t say hi, hello, but he would greet a fellow with a big smile and say ‘bye-bye’ to the other kids and elders he met.
He doesn’t say it but express his thoughts wholeheartedly. His gestures are so expressive, and I don’t have any doubt he would be able to work out how to say it into words.
Our family bonding every night and on weekends turn to be precious little memories that can help him achieve milestones in his age. I know, he might need to attend a speech therapy someday, but we have to figure out how to help him out of love and creativity. We know our son better than anyone else. He has gone through levels of developments which we celebrate as God’s miracles to our little family.
As his parents, we both know that our efforts to teach him how to be a good servant of God, nurture and nourish him with love and care, and encourage him to be a better man as he grows old, will not only help him pass the delay stage but to be a better person.
We need to strongly hold on to our faith to be able to overcome challenges. As parents, we also need to do the tricks and magic of family bonding moments at a place we call HOME. And it’s the only affordable resources at the moment– family love.
Home is where we learn the basics about dealing and living life. Teaching the kids with the right foundation of faith and values is the key to get all our prayers–answered in time.