A friend posted on Facebook this week that her 2-year-old daughter, Leigh, had reached a milestone that they were celebrating.
Every night at bedtime, my friend asks Leigh, who is deaf and just recently got her cochlear implants, if she’s ready for bed. Then my friend reaches up and removes the processor of her cochlear.
This week when my friend asked Leigh if she was ready for bed, Leigh, on her own, reached up and removed her processor. Leigh is starting to understand language and respond appropriately! Certainly a day to celebrate!
The next day, it snowed here in Fort Worth. People who live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area do not see snow very often. We were all thrilled. I heard a friend say that her kids squealed with delight and joy when they first saw the very few minuscule flakes. Nothing accumulated, but we enjoyed a rare snowfall.
I can guarantee you that kids in Chicago would not have squealed in delight at the very tiny bit of snow we got that day. They get lots of snow every year and would not have been impressed with the few flakes we received.
Milestones are snowflakes. Some people get them all the time. Others must wait a long time to see them.
Parents who are used to their child meeting lots of milestones right on time get excited about those milestones and some are celebrated. But there are lots of smaller events that slip right past those parents without ever being noticed. They are like the kids who live in Chicago. They may love the snow when it falls, but a few little snowflakes don’t get noticed.
But parents who have a young child with a disability notice the single snowflakes. It doesn’t snow often, and we notice even the smallest, quietest of snowflakes. We notice and celebrate the milestones that no one else even realizes are happening. And we squeal with delight!
It’s not that the Chicago kids are unappreciative. It’s not that the Chicago kids are wrong. It’s just that they are so used to snow piled up for months without melting, while the Fort Worth kids are watching the news and wishing for a snowy forecast. It’s just a matter of perspective. And try as they might, Chicago kids may never understand Fort Worth kids.
But I, a parent of kids with disabilities, completely understand my friend. And with my friend, I squealed with delight at Leigh’s milestone this week.
For information on developmental milestones, visit the Diagnosis and Healthcare section of this website.
Living with a child who has mental health issues can come with a lot of unknowns just like having a child with physical health issues. But society can treat both children very differently.
I have two boys. One is 10 and the other is 8. Both of my kids have disability labels. One has a physical disability and the other has emotional and behavioral issues. One disability you can see, the other you don’t – but it is there.