My tiny tot, did not speak in sentences till the age of 2 years. Whereas other children around the same age, started to at least say a few words around the same time. It was tough for me to handle the constant questioning by people in and around on why he is not talking. (As if my child was born to entertain them).
One of the biggest problems that I faced was the building that I lived, did not have children of his age. I always believed, children should grow up amongst children and not isolated but unfortunately the exact opposite was happening to him. Somehow, I convinced my family to admit him to a play group so that he at least learnt how to interact with others. The problem was he was so used to being with me, that even a new face would scare him. He was literally allergic to human beings. Trust me the society didn’t make it any better for me. Everywhere I went, all I could hear was, “why is your child behaving as if he never saw human beings?” “Why does he have problem with people?”
The first solution that I found to this problem was, to make him interact with other children. The only way I could do it was to enrol him in a play group. My idea of enrolling him a play group was to help him meet children of his age and learn to interact with them. It was important that he talks to children and understands how to behave in a society. It was a tough challenge for me because he would cry his lungs out. In the initial two weeks, the teachers would ask us to wait outside for 30 mins and those 30 mins, he would cry his lungs out and my heart would bleed outside. I knew I had to be strong but I was a mother.
It was just a couple of months in his playgroup and he had got a bad cold. He must have been around 2.3 years then. I took him to a regular doctor and not a paediatrician. Either ways due to bad cold he was very clingy to me and in no mood to listen to anybody. This is the general nature of children and it is absolutely normal. He did not respond to the doctor, when he called out his name. The doctor asked my husband to call him but my kid had a blocked nose and probably headache also and hated every moment there. The doctor went on bullying him literally asking the child to respond in a rude manner. I was fed up and just wanted to run away that moment.
Within a few minutes, without any medical test he predicted that my child may have some hearing issues. He simultaneously gave us a suggestion that we can visit a paediatric neurologist if we feel so, because he felt there is some developmental issue with the child. My entire world Collapsed. I was shattered and did not know what to do. I was determined that my child did not have any flaw and it was only a problem of the lifestyle that he led. It took us one month to get an appointment of the paediatric neurologist at Hinduja Hospital. On that day we left for the appointment.
That was the best and the worst day of my life. The waiting period over there was hell for me. I saw children with special needs there. Though I have worked with children for special needs, but waiting in the OPD, with those children was mentally tough for me. Millions of thoughts were going inside my mind. What if my child also turns out to be the same? What if my child also has developmental issues? How or what will be the future of my child? Those 3 hours in the OPD literally killed me.
We were then called inside. Two assistant doctors, called us inside and took notes, simultaneously one of them was playing with my son, trying to lure him with the toys. My kid happily went towards him but his eyes were on me. He would ask me to give him toys but wouldn’t go and snatch the toys like any other kids of that age would do. While, the Assistant Doctors were interacting with us, I saw my little one get comfortable. Subsequently, we met the main Doctor. He was a soft spoken senior Gentleman. He did not ask any questions to my child directly but was interacting with us, asking us general questions, mainly regarding his behaviour in public places and when alone, about the eye contact that he has with the parents and others. At the end of the session, he asked us to give 6 months more time to the child and in the meanwhile, asked both of us to physically spend a lot of time with him and take him to places to interact with other children.
He did write down a few medicines, which were more of vitamins and told us that it is an option to give him and also we may start speech therapy if we feel the need to do so. I did not enrol him for any speech therapy. I took him down regularly to the ground, tried to make him interact with children, who were more or less his age and this time enrolled him in a school, where there were about 80 children in the class room. I reduced his screen time to the minimum and got him more toys to interact with. Took his toys down to the park, where the children would bring their toys, share and also fight for each others toys.
I was happy that finally I could give him what was a normal childhood. Now, he knew how to look at the time, and would start from 4pm to take me to the park. He learnt how to talk because without talking he would not get his favourite toy, which his friend had bought to the garden.
This was the biggest risk that I had taken in my life. I did not know what to do, a lot of things could go wrong but as a mother I learnt the biggest lesson. Believe in yourself and your child first and then the world.
If I would have just been impacted by the negative comments that I was facing through, probably my child would not have spoken. Simultaneously, the stress that I went through was immense. I had no friend or support to share this trauma. Being a public speaker, and a good orator in this process I lost my voice. I lost my confidence in this procedure. It was important to bring out the pain that I had in my mind and that is how I started to write and started my own YouTube Channel to just start teaching myself on how to talk.
It was like a journey to hell and back.
I always wanted to write about this incidence in my life but never had the courage to talk about it. I was afraid of people judging me and more so judging my child. I did not want to create any prejudice in minds of people. But now that I am sure that none of my close ones read my blog, I am confident to share my story with the world.
I had recently been for a bloggers meet, where we had a discussion about different social media forums and how digital world is impacting parenting today. We spoke about how it is important for us to share our problems even if anonymous because may be someone else is also facing a similar problem.
Now, the same child who spoke a bit late, keeps me up until late to talk about any random thing. I am not complaining but happy about it.