I have been having a depressing last couple of days.
Owen's speech therapist recommended I read a book called "A Child With Special Needs"- and at the time I scoffed and thought- "whatever, he doesn't have special needs! He's not special, he just doesn't talk!"
It finally sank in to me that a 2 and a half year old who barely speaks does have special needs.
I know it doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with his intelligence per se, or that he might not eventually learn to talk just as well as anyone else.
It doesn't change how much I love him or how well we communicate when it's just the two of us.
But it does change my perception of how the rest of the world views him, and I guess that's what's been upsetting for me.
I think Paul Collins said it best in Not Even Wrong: Adventures in Autism, a great book I just read. He said that he simply can't bear the thought of anyone being cruel to his child (his son has autism).
I still have very high expectations for Owen- although he doesn't talk much, he is making connections between words and objects, often very high-level connections- and is capable of logical thought sequences- for example, the other day I told him we'd go to the park as soon as Stewart woke up and we were "ready"- I never said anything about shoes, but he connected the idea of shoes to the concept of being "ready" and came to me pointing at his bare feet. Then he ran and got shoes for me to help put on.
Owen also follows directions well and even our speech therapist has commented on how much receptive language he seems to have.
On the whole, we are very lucky. Many kids with speech delays understand very little of what is being said to them and can often act out so much in frustration that it is impossible to take them anywhere.
So we are definitely lucky and I know I shouldn't feel so worried. After all, Owen is his own person and I honestly wouldn't want him to be anything other than who he is.
I am praying for progress though. Owen is much better than he was before- now he asks to be let down from the dinner table, asks to be picked up, asks to go outside or for "more"- all things he would just gesture or cry for several months ago.
So I am pleased with the progress and hope for more and more as he starts pre-school, hopefully aroud next week. He's going to a language-based pre-school specifically designed to help him talk- all of the teachers have master's degrees in speech pathology or child psychology- there's even a behavioral therapist on staff and a physical therapist for those who need it.
I'll keep you all abreast of his progress.