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Happy Birthday Blues

isaiah 7

I haven’t ever thought to ask my other mom friends whose children are differently-abled if they struggle with birthdays, but I can say that Isaiah’s birthdays are often difficult for me. In past years, I have had trouble for the entire week leading up to his birthday. Gifts are the first issue that come to mind as he still hasn’t developed imaginative play and doesn’t pay attention to any toy for long. Searching for gift ideas isn’t nearly as fun as it should be as I have to think through way too many factors of accessibility, attention span and understanding. I’m often thinking through therapeutic benefits rather than just plain old fun when it comes to toys.

This year, I did fine until the actual day of his birthday. When I walked into his room and he didn’t have any concept of the fact that it was a special day, my heart grew a bit heavy. As I changed my now 7 year old’s diaper and dressed him with limited self-help skills apparent, it hit me again that his chronological age is distancing itself from his developmental age. As he spoke to me in one word approximations, I struggled that we couldn’t have a full conversation about this special day! While he is certainly making steady forward progress, the rate is so slow at times that it’s hard to see, especially when lined up with a child his age or even a child several years younger. It would be easy to get stuck here, making comparisons, wondering about future birthdays, but I have to move on and smile at who is in front of me….a sweet little smiling boy signing the word “cupcake” and ready to celebrate!

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