In two days we go for the peanut’s ASD assessment. This will be the first time that he has been evaluated by a professional who can (hopefully) tell us if his speech/language delay is in the normal range, or if it is part of a larger developmental problem. As I’ve written before, he has some traits that can be considered to be on the ASD scale, but since I’m far from qualified to diagnose him, and as his speech language pathologists have only ever mentioned vague concerns, this will be the first time we’ll have a more definitive answer as to where he lies on the spectrum, if at all.
One thing that I have noticed about dealing with the various professionals regarding the peanut’s speech/language delay, people seem to tiptoe around the fact that he may be on the autism spectrum. It’s like they don’t want to make me scared or angry about the fact that my little ray of smiley sunshine is different from other kids. I feel like patting them all on the shoulder and telling them, “Don’t worry, I know he’s different, and I want to get him all the help I can. So bring it on.”
On the one hand I can see why they do this. Why the treat me with kid gloves in their kindhearted attempt to downplay what may or may not be a serious life-altering situation. They must have had to deal with a lot of parents who just can’t handle the fact that their child has a disability of some kind. But is it really a serious life-altering situation? I don’t think so. Sure there are things we can and can’t do with him, but you know what? He’s four. That’s normal with four-year-olds. And at the end of the day, he’s happy, he’s healthy, he’s where he should be with regards to physical development, and with a lot of repetition, he does, in fact, learn new things.
Part of the reason why I’ve waited so long to have him tested is that I can’t help but think sure, he’s got some behavioral issues that are likely linked to the fact that he’s speech/language delayed, but then again, he’s four. He could just be a total fournager who just happens to not speak in full sentences yet.
The fact is, I don’t see it the way that they seem to think I’ll see this situation we find ourselves in. I don’t see his speech delay as an “OMG not my baby! Not my BABY!” situation that requires me to fly off the handle the second someone mentions that there might be a problem. I know there is a problem. He’s four-years-old and I have no idea what his favourite colour is because if I were to ask him, he’d have no idea what I was saying, let alone how to answer it. His lack of understanding when it comes to language is just a part of who he is. And maybe it’s because I’m his mom and I’m accustomed to all of his little quirks and challenges, but the fact is that the more time that passes, the more things he’s able to understand. Yes, his learning is coming along very slowly, but that just tells me that we need trained professionals to help him along. Not me, his goggling mother who’s pretty much just faking it at this whole parenting thing.
The way I see it, my job as a parent is to understand that my son is behind when it comes to speech and language development, and while he is able to learn some things, his delay will inevitably make it more difficult for him to learn things at school come Fall when he starts Jr. Kindergarten. With an ASD assessment at least we’ll have some answers and a professional opinion on which direction we should take with his learning path going forward.