Mom Knows Best. I Wish I'd Remember That More Often.

Any parent will tell you that they know their child better than anyone else does, and it's the truth. But I'm finding that in the world of special needs, so many professionals think they know what's best for your child more so than the parent does. I believed them for so many long years. I mean, they're professionals, and I was so new to this world. I kid you not when I say that parenting Micah (our 4th child) is like learning to be a parent all over again. The rules have changed. All of them. And some have been completely reinvented based on circumstances. It's intimidating, and if I can rely on a professional to tell me what to do, I'm grateful for their help.
But this summer has taught me that it's alright to trust my instincts. Parents know their children better than anyone else does. This summer, I chose not to take Micah to speech therapy. At all. This summer, Micah's speech has come so very far. It's not because I chose not to have him therapized. (It's a word. I invented it.) It's simply because Micah continues to work so very hard on his own, and 30 minutes per week of someone telling him what to do won't make any more difference.

This summer, I chose not to send Micah to summer school. I did once, that first year that the professionals recommended it, and I regretted that decision. Micah hated to be away from the family when the other kids were home. And really, what was the point? Summer school for kids with delays is to help those kids retain as much information as they can so they don't get too far behind their peers when school starts again in the fall. In the past, Micah hadn't really learned much to forget. This year, though, he did. He learned his numbers and can count to 10 all by himself. He learned the alphabet, and can recognize them in print, write them, and say their sound. It's a huge accomplishment. There was knowledge to be lost. And yet I chose to keep him home.

I had doubts. I mean, the professionals made it clear that Micah would lose so much of what he learned if he wasn't tutored over summer. But I made my choice, and resolved to help Micah with his letters and numbers on my own. That resulted in pasting the alphabet in the upstairs hallway, and counting things on an infrequent basis. I rock the commitment, let me tell you.
But just a few weeks before school started, I went over the alphabet with Micah. He knew every single letter, and not only did he know them as I chose randomly from the stack, he knew their sound and the accompanying hand sign.

I am making public note of the fact that I know my child better than anyone else does. I am going to come back and re-read this in the future when I have doubts, and the professionals try to tell me that they know what's best for my son. I will stand firm in the knowledge that I know my own child and am able to make my own informed choices for his future.

I am a mother. I guess that's all I needed to know all along.


Cindy said...

Good for you!!

I found some summers, Beth flourished at home!! We learned it was because she imitates. At school she imitated all the behaviors she saw in those with severe developmental delays. She imitated those with anger issues and social delays. I'm not saying Beth learned all of her mental and social delays from the kids at school, but when she was at home for the summer, her speech improved, her social skills improved and she didn't lose any more knowledge than any other kid in the neighborhood. She just imitated what she saw every day.

The Sports Mama said...

I go through this same thing with my Bug. And I'm getting darn good at convincing others that I'm right.

If only I could always convince myself.... :)

You are one of my favorite mamas, and ALWAYS one I look to for inspiration and strength. Even if you don't know I'm doing that... :)

Chicory Blue said...

I know I emailed you this when I noticed from your posts that Michah's speech was really coming along but I'll post it for your readers.

I truly believe that some kids need a break from therapy in order for the brain to process everything. I think we are always teaching new things...and the brain sometimes just needs time to assimilate all the new info.
I am an SLP-and the "speech fairy" visits my students over the longer breaks: Christmas breaks...summer breaks, spring breaks and summer....times when therapy isn't formally occurring. I see it more often than my colleagues probably want me to admit :)

Yay Micah!