By Kristen Sharpe
My son, Griffin, was diagnosed with an “receptive-expressive language disorder” (now known as Developmental Language Disorder) when he was just 2.5 years old. We knew he struggled following commands and communicating his needs to us. This was clear to us since he was 18 months old and seemed to fall behind his peers while they were acquiring new vocabulary daily. Nothing hurts more than seeing your child wanting to communicate but having no idea how. We, as parents, felt completely helpless and defeated.
Thanks to amazing SLP’s and speech therapy 4 times a week, we have made such great progress. Griffin went from only have 2 words a year ago (“duck” and “truck”) to now having an exploding vocabulary. He can count to 10, name all his colors, say his name, and most importantly can tell me what he wants in a single given moment… all things that seemed completely unattainable a year ago. I rarely share anything personal about his journey, but I feel like there is so little awareness surrounding this diagnosis. Strangers consistently try to make conversation with my almost 3-year old just to be met with silence. Kids his age on the playground ask their parents “why isn’t he talking?”. I constantly feel like I’m in defence mode hoping he doesn’t hear comments that follow me home long after we have left the grocery store or playground. Trust me, nothing pulls at my heart strings more than when my 16 month old is talking or picking up more vocabulary than my 2.5 year old.
Our team (made up of loving SLPs, PTs, and OTs) has brought us to where we are today and while I know the journey isn’t always easy, I find so much comfort in knowing everyone has his best interests at heart. We feel so lucky to have the best people pushing him and encouraging him everyday. We are so lucky to have Griffin to teach us patience, perseverance and persistence. “Don’t compare your child to others, there’s no comparison between the sun and the moon. They shine when it’s their time”