It is accurate to say that Mikey has a speech delay. It is probably even accurate to say that Mikey has a significant speech delay. I accept that as fact. I don't like it and I wish that weren't the case but I accept it. But it is not accurate to make the blanket statement that he is significantly delayed. There's a big difference between these two statements. And it's really not just semantics. He is not verbally speaking on the same level as other kids his age, granted. But he is not overall delayed. I know some of you without children or perhaps some of you with Jackson type children might think I'm overreacting. And many people may think that we are blind to the truth...unwilling or unable to see Mikey objectively. And you know, that's true. I can't totally look at my child without feeling or emotion getting in the way.
So, Mikey might not be able to speak in complete sentences yet. But here are just a few things that he can do and do very well.
- He can verbally say about 10 words...give or take...depending on his mood.
- He can sign about 20 words. He does these on his own and absolutely knows the meaning. This number could be much higher if I would get more aggressive with teaching him more signs.
- He understands just about everything we say and follows directions....if he feels like it.
- He can jump like no 2 year old you've ever seen.
- He can match shapes and colors.
- He can stack blocks very high....just so he can knock them down and do it again.
- He can throw a ball very hard and pretty accurately.
- He can run around almost the entire block...yes run, without stopping.
- He can hold my hand in the mall willingly for about 45 minutes...that's the new record.
- He can feed himself using a fork and a spoon. He holds them "correctly" and doesn't make *too* much of a mess.
- He can blow kisses and give kisses.
- He can remember things that he saw or experienced months ago.
- He can notice and point out differences in his surroundings.
- He knows what objects in the house are for and tries to use them appropriately. For example, the phone, the remote controls, toy guns, keys, vacuum cleaner, computer keyboard.....
- He can interact socially with people very well, even people he doesn't know.
- He can be sneaky and conniving.
- He can sit in one place and watch an entire Wubzy episode...or two. (We really need to limit his t.v. more.)
So when someone tells me that my kid is significantly delayed it bothers me just a little. It bothers me not because I'm scared it's the truth and unwilling to face it. It bothers me because he is so much more than his speech delay. I know that can't be ignored and must be addressed and worked on. We see an intelligence in this kid that trumps any inability to express himself verbally. I want the help and advice of others. I really do. But more than that, I want people to see the whole Mikey package and not just what he can't do...or isn't doing yet.