When we hear the word communication, our minds often think about spoken words, which I understand. It is truly SO much more than that though. It is the way we look at each other, how we move our bodies, our smiles and frowns, laughter, kindness, respect, hugs and snuggles, and so much more.
As a sign language interpreter to some of the most amazing deaf children years ago, I experienced this firsthand. Their ability to communicate was simply beautiful and they taught me that a look, an expression, a gesture can be so much more powerful than a simple spoken word. My relationship with these girls ran deep. I loved them and still do. They will forever have a piece of my heart.
As a mother now to one of the most sweet, funny, amazing little girls with a “severe phonological delay”, communication plays a big role in our lives. We go to speech two times a week, she is in a preschool with an amazing teacher who helps guide and encourage the other children as they try to navigate this communication challenge and understand (just as I once did for deaf students), we (myself and J’s Dad) understand most of what she says but we still struggle at times and communication can take longer and require questioning and digging a bit more to understand, we celebrate her accomplishments (this week she was able to blow one of those birthday party blower things for the first time & she was SO proud), we get frustrated (as does she with us when we can’t get it although she is pretty darn resilient and adaptive), we wonder if we are doing everything we can for our girl, we think about this word “communication” daily, we worry about her relationships with others and what will happen in the future, we cry and are sad about it at times, but most of all, we are so thankful for this daughter we have been given and all the amazing abilities she has.
We know that the speech therapy process can be a slow one, which is hard, but there is no other choice. We want what every other parent in the world wants…for our child to be accepted, loved, happy, and understood for who she is. We know that she will get there but it is going to take time, patience and practice, LOTS of practice.
I guess I am writing about this because it helps me to get it out and because I want to say THANK YOU to my friends and all those parents out there that teach their children empathy, kindness and respect. THANK YOU for teaching them that Every.Single.Person in this world learns in their own unique and special way and that it is A-OK! Our world is an awesome place because of all of our unique abilities, it is what makes life more rich, meaningful and interesting. THANK YOU for teaching them to treat others how they want to be treated and to always be a good friend. Jos has some amazingly patient and kind friends and you better believe that behind every one of them is an amazing set of parents who are modeling these things to their children. This means more to us than I can say and we are so thankful to have such wonderful people in our lives. Thank you.