Recently a new friend, whose son is also recovering from apraxia, came to me for advice. Although it was hard to be honest, I also felt an overwhelming need to just put it out there. I knew more than anything she needed someone to be straight-up with her.
This was uncomfortable for me because I am a nice girl, a don’t rock the boat kind of girl, a girl who crawls under a rock at the first sign of conflict, and a girl who really hates to dish out tough love … a great girl to come to if you “just” want someone to listen and then give you a big hug afterwards.
And I was faced with a decision. Do I tell her what she wants to hear or what she needs to hear?
And then it dawned on me … there are a handful of special ladies in my own journey with apraxia who stood in these same shoes … friends who were brave enough to say the uncomfortable and to push me out of my comfort zone. At the time, I didn’t always like what they said, but as the days went on, I knew they were only being honest with me and I came to accept their opinions as my own.
What if those people who came into my path knew the truth would hurt me and they decided to look the other way? Told me what I wanted to hear instead of what I needed to hear? What good would that have done? And even more shuttering to think about … Where would we be now if they would have reassured me instead of pushing me?
Once I realized the impact those ladies had on our lives, I knew what I needed to do. I had to be honest with my friend. I prayed for the right words … and it was a success.
Today I give thanks to those girls who coached me – both lovingly and firmly – out of my comfort zone for the sole purpose of helping a little boy find his voice.
When Jake was nearing the two-year-old mark, I was 100 percent in denial that he had a speech problem. A friend pushed me to call our state early intervention program, Babies Can’t Wait, in order to have Jake evaluated. I knew zero about speech therapy and early intervention.
During a time when everyone else was saying, “He’s fine, don’t worry,” this friend said, “Just. Do. It.” She also followed up with “Have you done it yet?” conversations. By the time I finally called when he was 27 months old, I almost felt like I was doing it for her peace of mind instead of my own.
Wow … Who knows how long I would have waited to seek speech therapy had it not been for this special friend?
I. Am. Thankful!
On a summer day in 2012, a few months shy of Jake’s fourth birthday, I posted a video of him doing Zoo Phonics. This program is similar to Speech-EZ in that cues are used for the different sounds. Although Jake was still struggling with his words and his focus was challenged, I remember how proud I was of that video.
I was doing it! I was teaching my baby! I was breaking the words apart by sound and he was able to read short words by doing the cues! Jake had stalled out with our local SLP and I was trying some outside-the-box therapy with him.
My friend, also an apraxia mama warrior, saw that video a little differently. She saw a boy who had tremendous potential (particularly with hand cues) but was in need of far more than I could give him. I had sought her advice in the past and that day, after she watched that video, she gave it to me. Straight up.
She ordered me to go, go, go to Arizona to see Lynn Carahaly.
Wow … Do you think this Georgia girl would have ever travelled cross-country to Arizona for speech therapy on her own accord? Heck no!
I. Am. Thankful!
In May of 2012, I received an email from a doctor who reached out to me after reading Jake’s story online. She told me she thought he would be a good candidate for the GFCF diet and supplements to target nutritional deficiencies.
This doctor was always very firm and professional with me. When I asked questions she always delivered, never veering away from the truth. She always told me what I needed to hear instead of what I wanted to hear.
Wow … What if she stumbled upon our story and then went about her day, never sending that initial email?
I. Am. Thankful!