Breakthrough meeting at Yirmiyahu’s two year assessment

Today Yirmiyahu and I went to his two year appointment with the child development doctor, his speech therapist and his physical therapist.    We have these appointments about every six months.  You may remember that I haven’t enjoyed these meetings in the past and even though our interactions have improved, I still had an apprehensive feeling when thinking about this meeting.

I was thinking about how to approach the meeting and decided it’s important at this point to share with them a bit more of what I do with Yirmiyahu, beyond what they directly ask me about.

The doctor started the meeting with a smile, saying she heard that I’m teaching Yirmiyahu several languages (ie English, Hebrew and sign).  She asked me what words he knows and I began listing them.  She was happy to hear that I use sign together with speech (not to replace it), and asked me what signs he knows and if he uses them independently to communicate.

We were talking while Yirmiyahu was walking around, squatting in place, asking me for a drink and drinking while standing.  They watched him playing with a doll imaginatively rather than copying what he was shown.  In response to her questions, I detailed some examples of how he follows instructions and shows comprehension of what he hears.

When he pointed to their computer and indicated he wanted to climb up to it, I explained he’s used to sitting with me at the computer and asked if they wanted to see the program we do together.  I had brought my laptop along just in case it was relevant, so I pulled it out and turned on the early literacy program (Brillkids) that we do daily.  This is a fantastic program that Yirmiyahu loves – he comes to me several times a day and signs ‘words’ to ask me to do this together with him.  Seeing a demonstration of what Yirmiyahu does at home was more valuable for them than hearing about it, and they could also see how attentive and engaged he was by the words and pictures.

I feel like this appointment was a game changer. The doctor didn’t refer to Down syndrome even once. She didn’t grade him and tell me how he was doing compared to other kids. She didn’t talk about delays, she didn’t pressure me about putting him into a special needs daycare. She didn’t tell me I need to come for more frequent therapy.  She didn’t say anything like, ‘kids like him’, ‘special needs’ – it was just about him as an individual.

After all the assessments were finished, the doctor said to me, “You’ve obviously been very successful with him.”  In the past I would wanted specific feedback on what she meant by that but today I just said, “Well, he’s an amazing boy!”  And then she replied, with something I never expected to hear, “Yes, he is an amazing boy, and you are an amazing mother.”

And then she repeated, “You are an amazing mother.”

There’s a saying, “Don’t quit until the miracle happens.” Well, this is how I feel about my interactions with the child development team.  I stuck with them, they stuck with me, we kept trying to communicate and we’ve gotten to a good place of mutual respect and appreciation.  It’s been a journey.


21 thoughts on “Breakthrough meeting at Yirmiyahu’s two year assessment

  1. As a teacher of “kids with special needs” I see many parents who really seem disconnected from their child or children. It’s quite difficult as a teacher to respond to a mother of a 14 year old boy who asks what do I do about his behavior.

    You are such an inspiration! Thanks so much for sharing your stories! I look forward to reading your posts every time!

    1. Sara, that’s really sad for them and it must be really challenging for you.

      I wonder how much of the disconnect is because parents feel their kids with ‘special needs’ are very different from their neurotypical kids?

      It can be hard to feel connected when the message from when they are born is that you as a mother can’t know enough, be enough – it’s the experts who know how to deal with everything.

  2. I can’t say I’m surprised :) You are an amazing mother and truly an inspiration to everyone. Continued brachot and nachas!!

  3. Yes you are an amazing mother to an equally amazing child!
    May Hashem continue to shine upon you both.`

  4. You know, parenting is so all consuming and I never feel I’m doing as well as I’d like. But I look at you and so many times, you’ve got it nailed down. Even if you don’t show us your every mistake, I think you are doing an awesome job, and I really appreciate that this specialist bothered to acknowledge it, because you know what, almost all of us want to hear it at least now and then after we’ve poured heart and soul into something for so long.
    You go!

  5. You ARE an amazing mother – and what I really, really like when I read your posts about what you do and what you have helped your children achieve, is that I am never left feeling with “well, I just don’t understand how you do it” – which is something that “experts” often made me feel (only in the “I don’t understand how they expect me to do this” way) – but I always feel “Oh, I SEE how you’ve done it – I can give it a go myself ! And you know what ? Unlike so much of the “expert” advice – it works. So you are not just an amazing mother – you are an amazing role model, encouraging more of us to try and be amazing mothers ourselves.

  6. My eyes are sweating. Maybe, because every part of his life is a miracle, maybe because I am so proud of you as a person, woman, momma, wife, leader, daughter, and SISTER. I love you so much.

    1. You know I think every child is a miracle, so Yirmiyahu doesn’t get special status for that! :)

      Thanks for always being a source of love and support for me. I love you, my favorite sister.

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