Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Buster, Apraxia and The Lady at the Post Office


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….

…Thank you.

Joining in with Kate Says Stuff for Thankful Thursday…..where you will find some fantastic inspirational posts this Thursday.


19 comments:

  1. I love it when people restore my faith in people. God bless the lady at the post office- she has just made my day.

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    1. Thanks Rhia! it came at just the right time too...I was feeling very down about the whole speech situation. But after the post office lady, I couldn't stop smiling!

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  2. aw its lovely when people take the time to listen and pay attention to children!

    Hes got superb taste btw I love that song (we are young!) :) x

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    1. Thanks Sarah! He likes to pretend he's a contestant on the 'Voice' when he sings this song..and we have to pretend to turn our chairs :)

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  3. That is wonderful. Yay to the awesome post office lady, the world needs more people like her.

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    1. Thank you! A few more people like her around here would be great!!

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  4. I worked retail for over 8yrs and met so many different people with all kinds of abilities and limitations. Community Access Carers often use shopping as an access activity and it's so awkward trying to give change to someone with bad cerebral palsy who's shaking really bad. But I wouldn't dream of giving the money to the person with them! I used to just put the change in their palm with my hand cupped over the top and then the carer would usually grab it from there.

    I know we're all busy these days but what's more important than treating a person with dignity and respect?

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    1. Thanks you so much for your thoughtful comment. I agree wholeheartedly with what you said about dignity and respect.

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  5. almost every time i read your blog you make me cry!!!! i love that buster has not had his spirit broken despite the coldness (?) of people who should know better.. and what an awesome PO lady :)

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    1. Oh Lyndaal.. Thanks you so much. I have to admit I was crying too when I was writing it...

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  6. That's wonderful.
    It's amazing how brilliant the smallest act of consideration can be.
    :-) xx

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    1. Yes, such a small thing really gave me a sense of renewed hope!

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  7. Oh bless her heart, this post has made my day Nicole <3

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  8. People are so rude, just so rude! My little chap has mild oral dyspraxia and still has a bit of a lisp at 8 (which we are working on). He was also a 10 pound, 58cm baby so we've had many rude unthinking comments over the year about him being "slow" or "ill mannered" because they thought my 18 month old was 3!

    When someone took the time to listen and talk to him, like your lovely Post Office lady, I wanted to kiss them! X

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    1. Thank you so much for understanding!! It really does astound me that people are often so quick to judge without knowing any of the facts/background!

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  9. What a wonderful lady - I'm so glad she took the time to listen.

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  10. What a great story. One person can do so much to make or break a child's enthusiasm for life. I'm glad you met the right one.

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