No one that becomes a parent really ever knows what to expect. Abigail has certainly taken all of our expectations about parenting and thrown them out the window. As a self-proclaimed perfectionist and overachiever, I had some pretty grandiose ideas about how brilliant my offspring would be. You know, simple things like mastering the alphabet before her second birthday and learning to read before she turned three. No big deal! 😉
When Abigail turned two, she still wasn’t talking. She wasn’t shy. Like her daddy, the kid has never met a stranger. She just couldn’t talk. She tried, but everything just came out sounding like “ah” and “uh.” She had no words. Not even “momma” and “daddy.” We had started testing her around 18 months to rule out the gamut of what could be causing her speech delay. By her second birthday, we still didn’t have any answers.
A few months before her third birthday, we finally started getting some answers. We were dealing with some compounding issues. The first was partial hearing loss caused by blockage in her ears, resulting in her being severely hearing impaired. This was fixable (partially-she still has some hearing loss), but in the meantime we worked on learning as much sign language as possible. The summer before her third birthday, sign language gave her the ability to start communicating with us for the first time. The next answer was Apraxia-a neurological disorder that affects (mainly) speech processes in children. It’s rare and the causes are not fully understood and the success of treatment varies greatly. All this meant she might be able to learn to talk in a year or she might never fully develop correct speech. That was the answer no one could give us.
So we started our journey of speech therapy and special education preschool and lots of work at home. We work and work and work! We work on letters, sounds, reading, and writing.
And slowly, but surely, the words are coming. They’re hard to understand most of the time, but they’re coming.
So, no, my child could not recite her ABC’s before her second birthday. But she’s working hard. And little by little, we’re finding words…