You know everyone kept telling me there wasn’t anything wrong with my child including my husband, but as a mom, you just know something’s not right. My husband thought my son was being stubborn, or refusing to learn with his peers, but through testing we found out that he had a mild cognitive delay; however, recently, further testing has indicated he is actually moderately delayed. There are so many things I had to learn as a mother in order to understand my child. Here are 6 things I have learned from having a child with cognitive delay:
Cognitive Delay Doesn’t Mean they can’t Learn
When you explain a disability to others, you can get some pretty shocking results. Some of the one’s I have heard often “so he can’t learn,” “Is he retarded?” Just because my child has a delay doesn’t mean he can’t learn. He just learns much slower than his peers, but he can learn and will continue to learn throughout his life just like everyone else.
I had to forgive those that don’t understand:
I can’t tell you how many times I have run into people that think they know it ALL! I have tried an early intervention, speech therapy, and yes we work on skills at home. I know he is behind, and he doesn’t respond like other kids his age. What I had to learn is to forgive other for their lack of understanding. They see a child struggling and want to help.
I Can’t Push My Child Beyond his Limits
I understand that you have to give your kids some degree of expectations, but I, also, can’t push my child beyond his abilities. I thought if I put my standards high and expected him to learn at the same pace that I could push him past his cognitive delay. This only made things worse and made him scared of me. I didn’t want my child to be scared of me. I had to realize that I can’t set my standards too high. I can’t expect him to be president of America (not that he can’t), but I have to leave room for error.
All Kids are Different
My son with cognitive delays was my first born, so I thought I would have to teach all my children the same way. I thought I would have to teach them how to say words, names of people, and how to play. Though I had to teach all these things to my oldest, my younger two picked up on these things without me teaching them at all. I felt like they didn’t need me. I have learned with 3 kids that every kid is different, learns differently, behaves differently, and even responds differently.
I will always Need to Advocate for Him
Any parent who has a child with disabilities knows how difficult it can be. My son not only has Cognitive delay, but ADHD, and Autism. Each year that he starts school, I have to go in and explain how he learns, what he likes, and how to get him to behave. Some years I have to become mama bear to get the teachers and staff to follow his IEP and some years I have wonderful teachers that really help him. No matter what, I will always have to fight for his best interest.
When it comes to having a child with disabilities there are always lessons to be learned. The greatest lesson I have learned is to let each of my children be who they are! They are special and loved just as they are.