, , , , , ,

That’s a new term, for me; I learned it today, and spent the afternoon crying (off and on) because I think my daughter may have it, and I didn’t know, and we didn’t get her assessed for it, and she struggles so much with language and I haven’t known how to help her, all these years.

When she was a completely non-verbal toddler, Speech and Language tried to get me to ignore her; “You anticipate her needs so well,” they said. “We’ve never seen any parent understand what their non-verbal child wants the way you do. How do you do it?”

I couldn’t explain it… she’s my darling. Of course I can read her. That’s my only real job, in this life–to love and support my kids.

“You actually anticipate her too much,” they continued. “If you could make her wait a little longer, make her ‘ask’ for things non-verbally, for example by making eye contact with you, it might encourage her to speak.”

I *said* she couldn’t speak. I *told* them. I’ve been telling everyone that she can’t do it (except her; her, I tell she can speak, she’s got a beautiful voice, I love hearing it, and I don’t ever point out how she muddles words and her voice is garbled and she sometimes can’t force even a garbled half-word through her lips; I loved it when, age 4, she learned to say “fish” and what she actually said was “boosh”).

No one offered us anything, other than Picture Exchange and a lanyard with little pictures she can select to indicate what she wants (she CAN select them… as of THIS year…. she is 12). I tried, a little, for a little while, to ignore her into speaking. But I’m not a monster–I was utterly incapable of ignoring my baby’s needs, just like I could never “just ignore” her round-the-clock (yes, literally) crying as a baby.

Who are these people? How can this be “neurotypical”? How can anyone, with any empathy at all, claim we’re the ones without it, when they treat us like this?

I’m so sorry, Naomi. I didn’t know what to do. I’ll research, I’ll find communication aids, I’ll find specialists, I’ll do better. Mommy loves you so much. I’ll do everything I can, to get you whatever you need.