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.

4 comments:

Sarah Z 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.

harmony said...

Shouldn't you have to take a test before you become a parent? That's the conclusion I've come to after pretty much raising my boss' kids for 4 years and having to deal with over zealous parents when we go into public places. I used to have run ins with the soccer moms all the time at the park when Anna was younger (she's 5 now). Now I have run ins when I pick up the older kid from school. What has the world come to? Little do these over protective, "my kid is perfect" parents know that their kids are drinking, doing drugs and having sex by the age of 12. Maybe if these parents actually paid any attention to their own kids instead of telling you how to raise yours the world would be a better place.

-ag

Adrienne said...

I'm really happy that you put up this post. My nephew has the same symptoms and it's driving his mom and grandmother kind of crazy. I think he's just a laid back kid and will talk when he wants to. His older sister won't shut up. (She's 4) I think that we push children too hard to develop too fast. I will pass this info on to my sister-in-law, however, because I'm tired of people talking about how he doesn't talk. Maybe this will shut them up.

Connie said...

Sarah, my mom feels your pain. She got that all the time when I had my speech disorder and she's a freaking RN. People kept telling her to read to me and talk to me because I apparently was also being raised in a dark cellar. People were always so rude and would just spout off advice or ask stupid questions. My mom said that finally one day when a parent asked if I was retarded my mom said that no I was not retarded and fortunately not ugly like the lady's little girl. I guess you could say she snapped.