Yesterday, on a routine errand to the post office, I watched a conversation between the lady at the counter and my four year old son, Buster. This conversation made my day…actually to be completely honest it made my week.
As you may have been able to glean from my last post about my son Buster and his communication difficulties (here), I have been feeling frustrated and isolated as we try and find a speech therapist that can help Buster with his Apraxia (a severe speech delay).
Now, I may be just a little bit bias ;), but my little man has an adorable bubbly little social personality!
He doesn’t think twice about ‘singing’ his current favorite song (we are young) when it comes on the radio. Even if he is getting his haircut in the middle of a busy hairdressing salon!
He cheers wildly from the sidelines for his sisters with unmitigated enthusiasm.
I’ve watched fascinated, as he teaches the teenagers at the girl’s swim club how to do flips on the jumping pillow. When they high-five him my heart just melts at the goofy wide smile stuck on his face!
Overall I have found that other children have no problems at all accepting Buster into their games or conversations….if they are a little put off by the sound of his speech, than it doesn’t take long for his personality to shine through and win them over.
However, when it comes to adults, it is often a different story…..
With Adults, Buster is not the least bit shy or reserved. He is only too willing to inform them of vitally important information….like what he wants for his birthday, his favorite colour, his sisters favorite colour, or the colour of his new socks!
…however, adults don’t usually understand a thing that he says! Determined to get his message across, Buster will start to ‘speak’ loudly (and I mean LOUDLY) interspersing his words with sound effects and dramatic pantomimes.
Usually, the adult (and all adults in a 1km radius) will stare at us like a circus act….I’ve had people ask me if he is even speaking English. They will rudely enquire or diagnose him with various conditions. More often than not they will completely ignore his attempts at communication and talk to me instead. I find that many adults simply don’t take the time to understand him.
This is why I am thankful to that lady in the post office.
She took the time to listen to him….and she heard what he was saying and was able to have a conversation with him. She asked him questions and listened to the responses. She didn’t judge him on the mispronunciations of most of his words. She didn’t stare at me in incomprehension or make sarcastic comments. It was an ordinary conversation about his preschool, his teacher and his favorite toys…but it meant the world to us!
In my experience with my son, I have found it takes children and special adults to see past his communication difficulties…to look under the badly shaped words to see the sweet , charming personality underneath. People who don’t simply focus on his speech errors, but focus on Buster instead.
To the Lady at the Post Office, I can’t tell you what it meant to both of us that you treated my boy as an important individual in his own right….just as you would treat everybody else….
Joining in with Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday…..where you will find some fantastic inspirational posts this Thursday.