Over the last several months, we have gone through a handful of evaluations for our son Trevor. Doctors confirmed what we already knew; Trevor would require a bit of assistance in the areas of expressive language and gross motor development.
We are very grateful to have been presented with multiple options. Our insurance was willing to cover a traditional therapy route of individual speech, physical and occupational therapy. We were also fortunate to have been granted coverage through the government’s early start program. Lastly we looked into holistic, neurological stimulation. While any one of the options would have really helped Trevor, and would have produced results, we decided to combine a few of the choices that we believed met Trevor’s needs best.
On Tuesday of this week, Trevor began classes at a school in Redwood Shores as a part of the early start program. This small group of 6-8 kids is led by a speech therapist, and consists of play-based language stimulation. They rotate through stations, and transition with songs from one station to the next. There is also a gym time which will stimulate his gross motor movement. We picked this particular class because of the subtle language influence, and because they have peer modeling in place. The location also has a pre-school, and kids from the preschool will cycle through Trevor’s class to model normal peer language skills.
When I dropped him in class on Tuesday, I had to STRONGLY fight the urge to tell the teachers all of the words and signs (or sign variations) that he uses to communicate. I mean, how else would they know that “cwrass” means that he wants a snack?!? I wanted to hang back a bit and make sure that he settled in ok, and help him make friends. I was clearly the one with the hang-up, because Trevor turned around as soon as his shoes were off and said, “Bye Mom!” I was the one that cried as I left.
I came back when class was over to pick him up, and had to strongly resist the desire to request a parent/teacher conference right there in the hall. “So…when you say he did “great”, what is it that you really mean? Like…did he learn stuff, and make friends, and participate in circle time? Or…great…like did not cry and run for the door kind of great?”
Trevor’s development, and my anxiety have created a perfect storm of “helicoptering”. I hover. I anticipate his needs before he can try to verbalize. I am only really beginning to understand the impact this storm is having on him. How am I inadvertently holding him back? He does not know or care that he is different. He does not know he does not move as fast, or as well as other kids his age. He does not know that he is difficult to understand. These are labels that I am using to describe him, and I have to wonder if he understands what it means when I tell other people that he is unable to do something, or that he is “delayed”. This does not define him. He is so much more than these labels, and he needs a Mama that is his biggest fan.
Here is the deal. I have been entrusted with two tiny humans. I am capable of being exactly what they need. I know Trevor will do just fine. He is, and will continue to thrive. I may need to let him fall. I need to get out of his way to let him grow. Clearly, it is going to grow us both.