apraxia, apraxia of speech, down syndrome, parenting a non verbal child, raising a non verbal child, raising special needs kids, special needs blog, special needs kids, special needs mom, Special Needs Parenting
Every day I wake up hoping THIS DAY will be the day Hope or Charlie speaks. Hope is ten, Charlie is seven, so it is time. To be able to say one single word, if only to declare what you want or don’t want, would make a terrific difference in their lives, you know? One word…is it really too much to ask?
A couple of days ago, Hope managed to get a big splinter down deep in her hand. It was close to one quarter of an inch in length. I didn’t know that sucker had besieged her because she couldn’t tell me. All I knew was that in a flash, she went from being happy and content to bursting into tears. Something was wrong….but what? It’s like searching for a needle in the proverbial haystack.
Think about it, with a non-verbal child, tears can come from any number of things. It might be a sudden tummy ache, a bee sting…perhaps even the stub of a toe. Did her little brother pinch her? Was she recalling a bad dream? Did something scare her? It was an hour or so later before we found the splinter hidden deep in the palm of her hand. When we found it, her eyes instantly lit up. The little warrior had been managing the pain patiently, knowing we were doing the best we could….silently hoping we would eventually find the source.
That ten year old girl with ringlet curls and an extra chromosome, the one who can be as dainty as a lone flower one minute and as sassy as a preacher who just baptized ten lost souls at the local camp meeting the next, opened her hand and let me dig and pull on the awful wooden invader until it had been captured, contained, and done away with. There were no tears, just relief. Like I said, she is a warrior.
The Bible says “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body”…..”For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned”….””Death and life are in the power of the tongue”…. and “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.”
A cradle Southern Baptist, I grew up with these scriptures. They are as familiar to me as my right hand. But until I became the mother of two children who are unable to speak, I didn’t fully comprehend their significance. Indeed, words contain the greatest of powers a human being possesses. They reflect what is hidden down deep in our souls…who we really are. So before you speak, listen. Listen to what each person says and how he/she uses his words….hear the anger, the hurt, the pain, loneliness, grief, arrogance, love, forgiveness, etc. And then stop to recognize the power YOU possess to demonstrate these same emotions.
How do you want to be known?
How do you want to be remembered?
What do you want in life?
Use your words to accomplish those things.
Never take the ability to speak for granted.
Be a voice for those who do not have one.