Friday, July 30, 2004

Big surprise: I have something to bitch about.

But it requires a bit of background info. Owen, who is now 2, has what's officially known as an "expressive language disorder." Basically what that means is that he barely talks- yet there's no known physical reason why.

There isn't anything wrong with his mouth, or his hearing. His receptive language is at or above age level- meaning that he can understand language like any average two year old. And he is affectionate and communicative, which pretty much rules out autism.

So, "expressive language disorder" could mean that he is just stubborn and doesn't want to talk- or that he has some problem connecting the words he knows to his mouth- or something else. Really, God only knows.

He has been going to speech therapy for a few weeks now and seems to be trying to imitate more sounds. I personally just think he needs to spend more time with other kids who are talking, but the state program that is paying for his treatment recommended one on one therapy.

Okay, so here's the bitch: when I explain to other parents why Owen doesn't talk, many of them actually say, in a tone of self-congratulatory complacency "Oh, mine's been talking since (insert age). I just always talk to her! I talk to her all the time, and read to her, even if it's something silly."

How do I respond to something like that?

I've been so tempted to say things like "Oh gee, maybe it's that whole sensory deprivation thing I do with my kids that isn't working for me. I guess the closet isn't the best place to learn language."

I mean, do people not realize that implicit in that statement is the insinuation that I don't talk to Owen enough and it's my fault he doesn't talk?

All I have to say is that certain people take WAY too much credit for their kids. Hey, everyone learns to talk- even "Nell" who was raised by wolves or whatever made up a language. The human urge to communicate is strong, and even kids who grow up in homes where there is abuse or neglect end up TALKING. So don't puff yourself up over your kid learning to talk- chances are that that would've happened anyway.

And be VERY VERY careful about what you say to people whose kids are less perfect than your little darlings. There are a lot of feelings on the line when it comes to kids.

Let's put it this way: would you tell a woman whose child had Down's Syndrome "I always took my prenatal vitamins, I guess that's why mine didn't have any birth defects!" in a chirpy tone? No, of course you wouldn't. So why make comments along those lines to me regarding my son's speech delay?

It's just plain rude.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I have a problem with people who speak like that in general. If I say I have a stomach ache today, I don't want to hear "well I always take such and such a pill and then I'm fine". Well you know what you're not me so stop insinueting what I should be doing. How about just telling me you hope I feel better. People would be a lot better off if they asked you about Owen's delay and learned a little bit than talked about themselves some more. We all talk about ourselves way to much.