not an invisibile disability

She’s turning five this fall. She’s forty-three inches tall and growing like a weed.

On the outside.

On the inside, she’s a toddler. She wears diapers. She is slowly emerging from the parallel play stage. Following her sister around like a shadow. Getting into cupboards and flushing toothbrushes down the toilet. She flits from places to place, never landing for more than two minutes. Her verbal skills are nil but she know what she wants.

developmentally delayed childI am used to her slow and steady maturation. What I cannot become accustomed to are the looks. The sideways glances when she shrieks in frustration. The down-the-nose stares when she dumps her drink on the floor to test gravity. In a way I can’t blame them, it’s not like she wears a shirt that reads

“don’t judge me, I’m developmentally delayed.”

I do not to call it an invisible disability because it only takes seconds to realize she’s different.

So many people we know want to understand. They ask kind questions as to her condition. The explanation begins with “it’s like cerebral palsy but it’s not…”. I have trouble wrapping my brain around the complexities of her. She walks and doesn’t talk. She runs and laughs like other kids yet has three therapy appointments weekly. I have six doctors’ offices on speed dial. That’s our life.

Photo copyright Astacia Carter 2009.
Astacia is a mother of two girls. She is Seattle Special Needs Kids Examiner and a contributor in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms. She blogs at mamikaze.

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