language delay — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

language delay


Apparently I have given the child the impression that this is what I am capable of. It was quite false of me to give her the impression that I can fix everything, and I am paying for it big time.

After lots and lots of temper-driven exchanges (and we both have hot tempers…sigh.) I stepped back and recognized the trend. Something will happen that I can’t fix:

  • She can’t go to the birthday party because she was sick the day before.
  • Her siblings are invited to something and she is not.
  • Plans are unexpectedly changed in a way that I have no control over.
  • Someone else lets their child have a snack that I do not allow.

She gets upset and starts to complain. I try to explain (generally ineffective) and she gets more upset. I explain more, threaten or cajole depending on my mood. She gets more upset and eventually grabs, hits, kicks, or throws something. Then I lose it. Nothing but fresh air and time get us back on an even keel…until the next time life is not fair.

Life is not fair, and it’s a hard lesson for anyone. For a child with language delays that particularly affect logic (cause…effect) and poor emotional regulation it’s a recipe for disaster. In processing all of this I have realized that I have contributed to the problem, especially for the last three years. I have worked behind the scenes (out of her ear and eye shot) to fix things. I have kept information from her until I was sure it was set in stone. I have missed sleep to arrange miracles, and I have in general made her life not easy, but “well-arranged.” Now, I am tired, and there are way too many factors that I just cannot control anymore. Real life is invading, and so, my task now becomes to teach this child that life is not fair. She can’t always have things her way, and even when it isn’t easy we will have to work together to make out as well as we can.

I have already recruited her to this process. Having finally recognized the trend, I picked a calm moment and apologized for being so angry with her lately, and then told her I needed her to help me. In the next “Life is not fair” moment I caught it early and told her this was one of those times I needed her to help. She was still not happy, but it did not escalate, and we awkwardly found a workable solution. Oh I hope I can continue to work on this with her in a calm way. It is so important. I certainly welcome your ideas if you have faced a similar challenge.


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Ready for Summer?

idyllic Summer in the tropics

I could be ready if Summer looked like this around here

I’m not.

Friends keep telling me how excited they are for Summer. School’s out – no more drop off, no more pick up, no more lunches to pack, no more homework. I do like all of those things. Really, I do. What I’m not ready for are the long (really long) days with three busy kids who expect me to be chief activities director. I haven’t signed them up for any classes yet. I keep saying I need to get a calendar out and start marking possible road trip dates…so why don’t I just get it over with and do it?

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Scary Memories

I was sifting through my pile of papers this evening in preparation for our IEP meeting next week. It’s been a while since I’ve really taken the time to go through everything and get organized. We’ve had a relatively easy stretch for the last year or so, and I admit I have let things slide quite a bit. Well, we had a little reality check last week when the child had an hour long meltdown with a babysitter present. Time to gear up again.

I think I know why I deferred looking at all of these forms and reports. Reading through all of the paperwork brings back memories of the really scary times parenting this child.

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My Social Story

I am a big believer in social stories. I think they are probably one of the most underutilized tools for all children. My theory is because they require a fair bit of customized attention to detail for the recipient they are eschewed as being too labor intensive. We tend to like things that can be reused like hand-me-down clothing. In other words we’re kind of lazy.

I first learned about social stories before the child was officially diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. We were in that scary middle ground when we knew there was a lot more to learn but we had no idea what we were really facing.

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Mommy Boost

Dear mom you are the best cook in the world you cook good things to eat Love

My early Mother's Day present from the child


I feel like I haven’t been doing that great a job for the child lately. She has regressed a bit in her behavior at home, and my reaction has not been what I want it to be. Instead of figuring out a way to support her better I’ve been regressing myself…back to my old ways of getting frustrated and losing my temper. I need to get a grip, and soon.


The other day we were hanging out in our home office while the twins took an oh so increasingly rare nap.

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Then and Now

My twins rediscovered a set of pictures from their big sister’s babyhood. These are pictures taken during her first 18 months or so – that blissful time of her childhood when we didn’t quite realize what we were up against. As I was putting the pictures away again one of them hit me right between the eyes. It is the classic picture of a new mom right after giving birth, disheveled, tired, and oh so happy, holding the baby as if they’ll never let go. In the picture I am seriously in need of a comb, the hospital gown is barely adequate, and I am smiling as if I just won the lottery.

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Pain Thresholds

The child has a very high pain threshold. She can run into a brick wall, fall down, get back up and continue on her way as if nothing happened. We theorize that her hypo-sensitivity to pain contributed to her aggressive behaviors when she was younger. I don’t think she understood that those actions were painful to other people because she didn’t feel pain herself. Just a guess.

It seems like this high pain threshold could be a good thing in some ways, but lately it’s getting a bit scary.

Minor injuries have been turning into badly infected sores because she doesn’t tell us that she hurt herself.

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Bull Fight

shows a bull fighter mid confrontation with a bull

The Bull Fighter courtesy of frank1030 on Flickr

When will I learn?

I think I have mentioned before how touchy our before school routine is. Getting through the necessary steps and out the door with a positive outlook for both mother and child is tricky at best. I should know better than to mess with the equilibrium.

Today right before we left for school I found the child shrugging into a cropped black “velvet” jacket with ruffles. This is one of her favorite new finds from the latest batch of hand-me-downs that are her size. She does have some interesting taste in clothes.

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Counting the Grapes

I was counting grapes out of habit the other day as I was packing the child’s lunch. I guess I’ve done it for so many years that I continue to do it now even though I don’t need to. As I was inwardly laughing at myself my mind flashed to a day several years ago when one of my best mom friends was chuckling about it, too.

This was pre-twins. I can’t quite recall how old the child was, but I think she was not quite three yet. So that would be after I knew something was amiss but before anyone else really thought much about it.

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Bite-Sized Homework

We’ve had our ups and downs with homework this year. Most weeks the child’s homework is a sweet routine of math drills and spelling practice. Since she thrives on routine more than even she would care to admit, this has been overall very good. Most days she can do her homework with minimal mom input, which is a good thing. The challenge then becomes some of the more extraordinary projects that come in and dislodge the routine.

Every five weeks they do a review spelling week, so instead of practicing spelling words we do a writing assignment. Usually they are short and seemingly simple: tell a funny story, explain how you drew something, write a letter…Working through these writing assignments put our “new” challenges into clear perspective.

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