We had our first Mommy and Me Ballet today. Much fun was had by all--well, mostly by Elanor. That girl loves her some dancing.
Somewhere between the "Stand Up Warm Up" song and the galloping across the room exercise I realized something. For the first time in a long time, Elanor displayed no trappings of her disability. I had left her talker and her orthotics in the other room with our shoes. She was just a normal two-year-old, and since the other kids in the class were on average 6 months younger, she fit in quite well. She even spoke about as well as they did, telling the teacher "gee" for the color of scarf she wanted. At some point she even said something that the instructor interpreted as "I like green mats" (although I think it was "I like to dance.")
Here she was, the "normal" child that I had always wanted, or at least expected. I reveled in it briefly, trying on how it would feel to have a typical child all the time. What would we do all day without the endless appointments? What insignificant things would I worry about? Would she sing the ABC'S at the top of her lungs? Would she expertly climb up the playground stairs and go down the slide?
But that ended as we got in the car and I put the talker in her lap. "Blue candy lollipop" she tapped out and laughed, pointing to the lollipop in her mouth. "More candy please." This is the normal Elanor, the whole Elanor. The one that can say anything she wants in any way she wants. She deserves to be the whole Elanor, not the shadow of the child I once expected her to be.
I've talked to a lot of parents who are worried about getting a diagnosis. Or once they have that, they're worried about going to speech therapy or getting an AAC device. I think they still have that vision of a "normal" child, and as long as their child continues to appear normal to others, they feel they can hang onto that. I understand that feeling, I absolutely do. But it's not fair to either of you. Withholding help from a child that needs it will not turn them into a typical child no matter how much you want it to. But you will be absolutely amazed at who your child becomes with the tools they need. I promise.