My child was beautifully made. She was brought into this world and has given me a different perspective on life. She is light, she is love, she is magic, and she is everything to me.
When my oldest was born, she was smaller than average. She wasn’t even on the growth chart for development.
As time sped by, I compared my daughter’s development to others her own age. It’s the sad truth. But hear me out. This was somewhat beneficial.
She was a little over two years old, had very few words, and couldn’t form a simple sentence. I taught her American Sign Language (ASL) to help with communication. She would get so frustrated that she would hit and scratch herself because of the communication barrier. When loud noises erupted, she’d scream and cover her ears. It broke my heart because even with my background in family studies, I could not help her.
Playdates were hard because kids could not understand her. They would just take off, ignore her, or look at me and ask “What did she say?” I was my child’s personal interpreter. This was tough because even family members had a hard time understanding her. I can only imagine how my baby felt when she would try to speak. During playdates, she would shut down and give up on playing with others.
When Comparison Is Good
Comparing my child with others led me to call around for an Early Intervention Evaluation. I’ve heard so many people say “You should never compare your child with someone else’s” or “Children grow at their own pace.” While I agree with these statements, I had to follow my maternal intuition. I knew in my gut that if I didn’t get her evaluated, I’d regret it.
I decided that if they say she needs therapy, that is fine. If everything checks out normal and she doesn’t need services, that’s fine too. At least I know that I did something instead of nothing.
After her evaluation, she ended up needing speech therapy. They came to the house for therapy once a week and eventually had her evaluated by an occupational therapist. During this short time of early intervention, she was seeing an occupational therapist every other week. They mentioned sensory processing disorder. It all made sense. It made even more sense as she got older because she was showing more and more signs that she was having sensory issues.
Taking Action and Advocating
As a parent, I am constantly advocating for my children. While some thought I was overreacting, I knew that it couldn’t hurt. I kicked myself many times thinking I was a bad mom to compare my child to others. But if I didn’t, my daughter would not have received the help she needed when she did. After three years of therapy and one six-month study through the University of New Mexico, she has come so far.
There are many people we love who have contributed to my daughter’s growth, and I am forever thankful for that.
Originally published July 2021.
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.