When my second son was about eighteen months old, I took him to the doctor for a check-up. While we were there, I brought up some concerns I was having about his speech development. My gut told me something was off. It seemed like he should be “talking to us” more. I understood he wasn’t very behind on actual words, per se. He just seemed too quiet; too uninterested in working on getting the words.
The doctor firmly disagreed. She said he was completely fine. Her refusal to truly listen to my concerns gave me an urgent sense of panic. I couldn’t walk out of there without pushing the issue. She finally rolled her eyes at me and sighed in annoyance. She handed me a consult to see Early Intervention for an evaluation “to show me how ridiculous I was being”. I didn’t care what she thought. I happily took the consult and got out of there before she changed her mind.
My husband and I weren’t sure what to expect on the day of the evaluation. After talking with us, they took Kevin into a room with a two-way mirror so we could watch them interact with him. One of the therapists came to talk to us after they had made their assessments. My mama’s instinct was spot on. There was something going on with his speech and language development. They enrolled him in their program immediately.
The speech pathologist came to our home to work with him in his own environment. After a few weeks, we were approached with an opportunity. They felt we were candidates for something called The Hanen Program- More than Words. The premise of the program was to empower us, as parents, by giving us the tools to draw out the words.
George and I would attend classes with other parents who have been selected as a good fit for the program. The speech pathologist would continue to come and work with Kevin at our home as we implemented the techniques we learned in class.
The Hanen Program very quickly became a part of our family dynamic in every day life. And it worked! We saw great progress in a short time.
Then the ear infections started. We finally had things on track to get Kevin to want to talk to us, and his hearing was now affecting his speech.
After many appointments involving more pushy mom moments, we were granted a consult for the ENT clinic. Soon after, he got tubes in his ears and we were able to get the hearing issue taken care of. But now we had more work to do with his speech issues.
Early Intervention on Fort Benning continued to be excellent. He was two years old at this point, so in addition to home visits he now qualified for a special preschool program that was held in the elementary school.
They wanted me to send my two year old to school? Without me? My husband and I had chosen the stay at home mom route. My baby had not so much as stepped foot in a daycare, let alone school. Did I mention he was only two? They required him to ride the school bus. Excuse me? They wanted me to put him on a bus? Without me? My soul wrestled with this decision. I trusted these people. They had been so good to us thus far. I knew they were offering the help he needed. I just wished it was on my terms.
In the end, I waved goodbye as he grinned at me from his car seat on the little yellow bus. He loved every bit of it from the bus ride to the time with the other kids. It was only a few hours three days a week. I was fine with it. Really, I was. Okay, I may have followed the bus to school and hid behind pillars like a crazy person so he wouldn’t see me, but that was only for the first few weeks.
About halfway through the school year, we got orders to move to Fort Bragg, NC. This would be the first of many school changes for both of our boys. It was hard for a lot of reasons.
One major difference was the Early Intervention Program on Fort Bragg compared to Fort Benning. We went from people who cared about him and our family to basically nothing. The school program was not in place because there was no post housing available for us. There was a Speech Pathologist we were eligible to see once a week for a half hour. We spent most of that half hour waiting for our turn in the hallway.
Just a few months after moving to Fort Bragg, we got unexpected orders for Germany. This ended up being a huge blessing for Kevin’s speech journey. He was immediately put back into a fantastic program. We loved his Speech Pathologist and his teachers. I was particularly thrilled to find out that I could volunteer in his class as much as my heart desired. I did. A lot.
One morning in May, I stayed for circle time and the morning routine. The teacher asked if I wanted to stay for craft time. You bet I did!
We were just getting started when my now three year old son leans in close to my face. “Momma”. My heart melted. “Yes, Buddy”. “Yook awound” (look around). I scanned the room looking for something special. Not seeing what he meant, I turned back to him and he stared me straight in the eye, “Do you see any udder mommies hewe ?” Oof! No. I did not see any other mommies there. And just like that, my baby didn’t need me anymore.
After I licked my wounds of rejection, I realized that this is exactly what we had all been working so hard for. This season of our whole family being uber focused on helping Kevin to grow past his struggles was never meant to be forever.God gave us the resources and the determination to walk through this for the purpose of helping Kevin to be independent and confident.
It is so humbling to look back at that season and be able to so clearly see God’s hand every step of the way. From my “gut instinct”, which I know was God’s voice at that very first appointment to all of the amazing people who invested in my son, he provided what we needed when we needed it.
Letting go and letting God handle things goes against our very human nature. I got a taste of that when I was asked to put him on that school bus at two years old. But when we really let go and trust him, the blessings are bigger than we could ever have planned on our own.
I can see him in the dry spell when we were between programs. God did not leave us in that limbo. He moved us to the exact place with the exact people Kevin needed. That’s how God works. He has a plan. We just need to trust him. He knew help was on the way when all I could see was the moment.
I love the other side of seasons like this where we can look back and see the whole picture. Look around, Momma. Right in front of me sat a secure and happy little boy. This was the prayer from the very beginning.
Three year old Kevin brought things into perspective with two little words. Look Around.
There is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven… Ecclesiastes 1:3 (AMP)
About Hanen (copied from their website)
Founded more than 35 years ago, The Hanen Centre is a Canadian charitable organization with a global reach.Our mission is to enable parents and professionals to transform their daily intreactions with children to best possible lifelong social, language and literacy skills. This includes children with or at risk for language delays and those with developmental challenges such as Autism Spectrum Disorder.For more information on this life changing oragization go to http://www.hanen.org/About-Us.aspx