Kids Will Be Kids

September 25, 2007 @ 7:47 am | Filed under: Special Education, Special Needs Children, Speech Delay, Wonderboy

Wonderboy ran up to me and said, "Mommy, I need kiss you!"

Smooch. Now that’s what I call speech therapy.

"Need kiss" is more like "nee kih" but he is starting to use ending consonants on words like up, cup, and big.

"I need to kiss you" has to be one of the sweetest sentences a mother can hear.

In the meeting last week there was a really funny (and for me, triumphant) moment when he said something to the audiologist. Earlier in the meeting, his speech therapist and I had been talking about how much she "gets out of him" during a session. His tendency is to watch her, either solemnly or with a big grin (if you know him in person you know what I mean about the grin—I was telling this story to a friend and she said, "Yup, that’s Wonderboy all right"), but not repeat back the words the therapist is trying to get him to say. Then, after an activity is finished, he’ll say the sound or word clear as a bell. He just—like most kids his age—doesn’t like to be put on the spot.

So in the meeting, I was describing this as a typical behavior for his age and developmental stage. (Developmentally, he is more like a young three than a going-on-four three.) The speech therapist was looking at it from a different angle: she was seeing his silence as an inability to perform on cue rather than a choice not to perform. Well, this is one of those things that a mother just knows. When you spend all day with a child, you get a pretty good sense of when he can’t do something and when he won’t.

About twenty minutes after this conversation, the audiologist burst out laughing. She explained that she had been trying to get Wonderboy to talk to her. She was sitting next to me, and he often wandered over from the toy area to stand at my elbow and give me a kiss on the arm. (He is so sweet with his kisses!) The audi had been holding out a plastic ice cream cone and telling him, "Say ice cream. Say ice cream." And he had just grinned at her.

So what made her burst out laughing was that several minutes after she stopped playing with him and set the toy cone down on the table, he ran up and grabbed the cone and said to her, with the most impish glint in his eye, "I got my ice cream cone."

"It’s exactly like you said!" the audiologist crowed.

This reminds me so much of when Jane was two years old, in the hospital for chemotherapy. One day she pitched a big huge fit right in the middle of the hall on the cancer ward. This was unusual behavior for her, and medical personnel came running from all directions.

"Is she seizing?" called a nurse, racing to my side. A doctor elbowed me out of the way, dropping to his knees beside my shrieking, writhing child.

"No, it’s not a seizure," I said. "It’s a tantrum. I wouldn’t let her run in the hall."

She had a central line in her chest, which was connected by tubing to an i/v pole from which hung a bag of medicine so toxic I was under orders to wear protective gloves when changing her diaper. So, no, I wouldn’t let her run away from me down the hall, pulling the i/v behind her. And she was two years old, and this made her mad.

You wouldn’t believe what a hard time I had convincing the assembled docs and nurses that this wasn’t a medical emergency.

Sometimes special needs kids are just kids.


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Comments

6 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. Can you become a little OVERLY qualified for dealing with kids maybe? 😉

  2. “Sometimes special needs kids are just kids.”

    That needs to go on a button. Or a t-shirt. And be worn to all IEP meetings and other interactions with folks who tend to only see the needs and not the kids.

  3. I’ve just finished reading your story over at Bonny Glen archives about how you started writing the Little House books while Jane was in hospital, so this post really made me smile.

    I have an opposite kind of story to yours. I remember when Rose was in intensive care after surgery, barely able to move, barely able to speak, and desperate for a drink because she had a blistered throat from the ventilator tube, she asked a nurse for a drink. The nurse refused to give it to her until she said please. !! In my experience, some doctors and nurses were so used to very sick children, they sometimes forgot they were just kids – hurting and frightened. (Others were lovely, of course – I’m not knocking doctors or nurses!)

    Anyway, Wonderboy sounds so cute.

  4. Reminds me of my experience with my first grade teacher. She called me up to her desk on the first day of school and asked if I would read a passage to her. She read my refusal as an inability to read and I was put in the beginning readers group. I went home mad (I’d been able to read since before kindergarten.) and complained to my parents who soon set her straight: I was just shy and didn’t want to perform on cue for a stranger in front of a room full of strangers.

  5. What a great story! So true.

  6. So true, Lissa!! My little guy with a trach several years ago was crying in one of our many clinics….I was frantic, is his reflux bothering him..is his trach getting ready to occlude, was his trach ties too tight..what?!? what?!? was it??? He had a dirty diaper….calmed down as soon as I cleaned him up…Now that I have another special needs baby….with a trach….and she is five weeks old….and fussy a lot, I keep going down the special needs checklist, but you know what? I think she just likes to be held, and gets overwhelmed like all newborns do….
    Your post was timely, thanks!!