My Max is a sweet, energetic three-year-old boy…who happens to have developmental delays. While he has no further diagnosis beyond that (and I am so glad -a label won’t do a thing for him at this point) he’s the epitome of a young boy – energetic, loves the word “no” and always on the move. He is bright, loves whole-heartedly and enjoys playing with other kids. However, his developmental delays often leave him frustrated and unable to cope with situations that many three-year-old little boys have learned to handle. Things like posing to smile for a picture or going out to eat (even at a fast food restaurant) are expected to be tough at his age, but with Max, they are nearly impossible because he has trouble listening and obeying. He has little interest in new activities and often turns away from suggestions of playing with Play Doh or coloring and has a tantrum because we even asked. Any activities that help children prepare for preschool are often given a big thumbs down and cause a temper tantrum.
Instead of burying our heads in the sand at the signs of some behavioral and developmental problems, we’ve addressed the delays with our eyes wide open so we can help our Max.
Max was seeing a Speech Therapist and upon my concerns about his behavior and development, she referred him to be evaluated for Developmental preschool. It was an emotional and nerve-wracking time for us, but after the testing we learned that Max did in fact qualify to attend the developmental preschool. So four days a week, Max is picked up at the end of our driveway by a school bus that takes him to the elementary school for three hours of intense, language-based, hands-on preschool.
Thankful for Early Intervention
I’m thankful for a lot of things – first, my Max of course. With the help of early intervention, Max is making great strides. I am also thankful for the Speech Therapist through Indiana’s First Steps program, Max’s special education teacher and assistants at school, his bus drivers and his in-school speech therapist. These people are Max’s angels. His teacher is amazing – she’s an honest, optimistic, enthusiastic and encouraging woman who Max adores.
|Max on the move during family
photos in September.
I feel beyond lucky that Indiana is a state that has programs in place for children who have developmental delays. As hard as I try to teach him on my own, he needs people who have spent years in school and who have received additional training to fully prepare him for his school years. I know with this help he’s so fortunate to receive, he’ll catch up and continue to do amazing things. I can tell these teachers are doing a great job — Max loves school and his new friends and he especially enjoys riding the bus. He is always disappointed when he learns it isn’t a school day.
It’s difficult being a parent. No question about that. I’ve felt insecure about some of my parenting decisions. But being a mother has taught me more than any college course or corporate America job ever could. Initially I blamed Max’s delays and behavior on myself. As a stay-at-home mom, was this somehow all my fault? However, with time I have learned and accepted that it is not my fault that he has the delays. Sometimes people can tell that Max is a little different than the other kids. But developmental delays are nothing to be embarrassed about. We are doing all we can to help him and through early intervention, not only is Max getting the extra boost he needs, but my husband and I are also learning how we can best parent him. It’s a win for all.