What’s Wrong With My Son? Nothing, I Hope: The Truth Behind a Worried Dad.

So I’ve been sort of cryptic with some of my blogs regarding Jax and some perceived “issues” going on. Not that there is some major catastrophe or illness or anything like that. But between him not talking yet and my background as an educator it has been a difficult ride the past few months.   
So let’s just put it on the table… Jax isn’t talking… No animal noises… Not much other than “Daddy!” Which he repeats constantly. You don’t have to have a masters degree or be a teacher to worry when your kid is two and still isn’t speaking. It’s scary. Crazy things run through your head. People can tell you that, “it’s ok, he’s such a happy little boy.” That means nothing when you are the parent and worrying.  

I was nervous to talk about it, you know, because when you say things outloud it makes them true. Saying that you are worried about something makes it a reality. Well I’m tired of it. “Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself” -Hermione Granger.  

I We have been working with birth to three for about four months now. We set goals we do assessments and we progress monitor. Still no words. We had hearing tests, we did eyes tests, we did blood work. Still no words. We had speech pathologists come to work with him, we took him to a speech clinic for evaluation… Still no words. If I hear one more time that his receptive language is above average, but he is below standard in expressive language I’m going to tear up my CT Early Learning and Development Standards handbook.   

So that brings me to my education background. I’ve sat through a countless hours of meetings on student progress or lack there of. I’ve listened as teachers presenting findings and data to parents. I’ve wondered what it would feel like to be on the other end. I always had empathy for those parents. No one wants to sit on that side of the table for a PPT. NO ONE, because your hearing a specialist at tell you something is wrong with your child. I always took into consideration that sitting on “that side of the table” was never a good feeling. 

Then the day came where I was the one sitting on “that side of the table.” I listened as a special educator said, “yeah, he could be on the spectrum. Maybe he isn’t,” the overwhelming feeling of hopelessness on our end was heart breaking.  

I’m not sure where my mind went that day. I’m not sure if I agreed with her or thought she had no idea what she was talking about. There aren’t other signs that I see… No sensory issues, no tiptoe walking, and he shows various emotions is appropriate setting and situations. I’ve talked to people close to me, at my school and just done research and I am sure he is fine. I mean he literally is one of the smartest kids I’ve ever met. He knows basic colors and shapes and follows multi-step directions. (I know 5th graders who can’t follow multi step directions).  

The whole situation is a whirlwind of emotions. It’s my son so I’m worried and want to talk about it, but it’s my son so I don’t want to worry or talk about it. I don’t want family or friends to judge me or us or him. I don’t want people at his school to look at him differently. It’s scary… I cry, Steph cries… Then he does something amazing and we smile and we laugh.  

He’s happy. He’s a happy little boy… But that’s not enough. Let’s face it. When I sit at PPTs and hear educators tell parents not to worry because their child is such a “happy little child” it makes me cringe because now I understand why that isn’t enough. I used to think knowing was enough. The theory behind things and situations will help you only so much, but you’ll never truly understand where someone is coming from until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes as they say. 

 Through this whole process, we’ve tried a million different strategies. We’ve given choices for activities, required him to look us in the eyes before he gets something he wants, we’ve practiced making faces in the mirror and tried to “stimulate his tongue withstand a tooth brush.” Som etimes I get annoyed with trying to balance being a special education service provider and a dad.  

When do I say enough is enough and just enjoy my son. Play catch (he needs a lot of work, it looks like at this point he’ll be a left handed reliever), draw pictures and swing on the swings. Then, when I spend the day with him doing those things I feel like a neglectful parent for not spending time identifying animal sounds and working on his B3 goals. It’s a horrible, horrible feeling. 

It hurts in my chest to try to communicate with my son and struggle to do so. I think one of the worst feelings I’ve ever felt in my life is watching him get so frustrated when he is trying to tell us something and he can’t express it properly so we understand. At this point we know him well enough to get most of what he is trying to say, but not all the time… And it’s those times that make you feel like a failure. You begin to feel like you did something wrong or skipped a step in his development. What did I do to make him struggle so much to tell us what he wants? Will he ever get to a point where he is not so frustrated when he can’t get what he wants to say out? Will he ever even be able to communicate what he wants? It’s scary. It’s scary knowing that you are worry about not just these issues, but the ones that might possibly come up as he continues to grow.  

I don’t want to sit here and pretend that I’m not the happiest dad in the world because that would be an absolute lie. This kid brings me more joy than a Yankees and Packers championship win in the same season (ok maybe not in the same season, but you get the point). I love this kid more than life itself. There is not a thing that could ever change that. He makes me feel like the luckiest person to walk this earth… He’s taught me about life and not metaphorically, he’s taught me about what it truly means to bring life into this world and then realize that life is the reason you live.  

Although he makes me so happy every second of every day… The worrying is a helpless feeling. One that very few people will truly ever understand.   

Progress:​

14 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With My Son? Nothing, I Hope: The Truth Behind a Worried Dad.

  1. It is terrible. One of my stepsons is on the Spectrum. To visit specialist after specialist to be told there is nothing wrong. Hearing is fine, this is fine.

    After 3 years and evetually going private it was a relief to finally get a diagnosis. At least then therapies get put in place. Help at school. Most importantly the realisation its not you and it’s not his fault.

    Thanks for sharing such a personal post.

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  2. My husband speaks spanish to our son and I english. He is almost 2 and no words yet. Not a single word, just a ton of “noise”. We have days when we worry about it, but don’t look into it too much. My husband’s niece was the same way until she was about 3.5 yrs. Now she is bilingual and talks non stop! Good post, it takes courage to write about these topics and I can tell you are great parents who really care about your son. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a degree in education with a focus and bilingual bicultural studies children that speak two languages will always be slower to develop both languages than others who are only monolingual. However studies and research show that by approximately fifth-grade those bilingual students will far outperform their monolingual peers. Keep up the great work. And thanks for the kind words!!!

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  3. It must of been difficult for you to write this post! I was an educator before I became a SAHM, and my eldest didn’t speak until he was two! (We spoke 2 languages)He interacted etc, just as you say your son does, but not a word besides “mama” or “papa”.. I understand your worry and concern. Right now he has just completed his first year of kindergarten. He reads like a champ! He just took a little longer to form words, and that’s OK. Believe in your “gut”!! You know what he needs.. And being a lefty is perfect 🙂 As parents we never stop worrying do we! #brillblogposts

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  4. What a moving post, and I completely relate to this. My youngest daughter is awaiting assessment for autism and I have just known since day one that something wasn’t quite right with her. It took me a long time to voice those concerns, and the first time that I wrote them down I felt as though I was betraying her somehow by telling others that there was something wrong with her. I’ve been told that it’s a long road for a diagnosis and some days I tell myself that she is completely fine now, others not so much. Good luck with it all, I am sure that he is absolutely fine, whatever the outcome. xx

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  5. This is breathtaking…am also going through the same thing…hes in intervention…hes speech delayed and has some areas that may be autistic but wont get a confirmation until later in this month or to get it ruled out…its a hopeless feeling to not be able and make it disappear….all the over thinking to know if what your doing is the right thing. ….the sleepless nights…the nobody understanding you and telling you your crazy so you dont talk to nobody about it because all their opinions r hurtful….feels like it you and him against the world….this post is so warming because i know that am not alone in all this….thank you.

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  6. Love this post. I can completely relate. My son is 2.5years ASD and literally a few weeks back it was like a lightbulb turned on for him and all the learning we had put in over the past few years started to come out. he started repeating words, saying his brothers name and counting! we were gobsmacked as he was non verbal only mumbling before this. Never give up and enjoy your playtime you both deserve it x

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  7. A really honest post. My son is 6 and has just been diagnosed with High Functioning Autism. I knew his behaviour was unusual , in terms of emotional regulation mainly, from around 4. You know your son best. Keep talking #brilliantblogposts

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  8. A really honest post. My son is 6 and has just been diagnosed with High Functioning Autism. I knew his behaviour was unusual , in terms of emotional regulation mainly, from around 4. You know your son best. Keep talking #brilliantblogposts

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  9. My son is on the spectrum. I loved him the day before he was diagnosed and nothing changed after getting the diagnosis. Honestly i am happy with who he is. He is a smart kind and loving boy. It is tough because you feel guilty giving your child downtime when you could be doing something educational. But they need downtime and so do you. Always love you son and consider why they are displaying certain behaviours instead of looking to punish them. Understanding and love mate. Everything else will fall into place.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. And sometimes boys talk later. My nephew I’m caring for is almost two. He’s not talking much. I’ve taught him sign language. I’ll pray for Jax!!! Eye contact hugs and direction following. Doesn’t sound like he’s on the spectrum. Xoxo

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