“He May Never…”

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“Declan is doing really well with his speech.  When he started with me a few years ago he would use a single word or utterance to try to get his whole message across.  Now he is using LOTS of words.  We started working on having him answer “who” and “what” questions.  In the beginning, he would just repeat the questions, or parts of the questions back to me.  Now he is starting to answer some of them.  We are going to continue to focus on this area as part of his goals in speech therapy.  We will begin to add in “where” questions as well.”

“Ok, great.” I returned to Declan’s speech therapist.

“Declan is still not able to answer “why” or “how” questions.  Those ideas are a little more abstract.  We will continue to ask him a “why” question and tell him the answer so he will begin to understand.  For example, “Why do we put milk in the fridge?  To keep it cold.””

The speech therapist looked up from the paperwork and continued with her eyes on mine.

“The concept is hard for him.  He may never be able to answer “why” or “how” questions.  But we will keep trying.”

The May Never’s

I came home from the meeting with another new-found pile of paper work to add to Declan’s file.  I wondered again, as I do after every meeting, if the shelf I store his file on will soon break from the weight of paper that it carries.

I walked to the shelf and pulled out his files from three years ago.  I began to read through the goals, remembering the child that started with this program.

I remembered the child that screamed when anyone spoke to him.  I thought about the child they wrote about that hit, bit and clawed – everyone including himself.  The child that ran into any object, human included, just to seek sensory input.

I knew the child that no one really knew what he was capable of because he never sat long enough for any kind of assessment.

I remembered Declan screaming and pointing.  I remembered Declan’s limited vocabulary and how frustrated we all were.  I remembered asking him something to have him repeat the words back to me.

I put the paperwork back into the file and found this year’s file to place the new paperwork inside.

I thought about what the speech therapist said.  He may never be able to answer those questions.

As I pushed the record of files back onto the shelf, I thought about how many times I have thought of the things that Declan would never do.  Of how many times I had sat in meetings to watch people shrug when it came to the question of his capabilities in certain areas.  No one was ever sure.

I began to think of Declan now, and how far he has come.  I could read about it in his files.  I could read from each group of paperwork and see the progress he has made.  Goals achieved, new goals to work for.  And if not on paper than in life, I had seen Declan come so far and reiterated to myself one important thought.

“There is always hope.”


14 thoughts on ““He May Never…”

  1. I know the support people are trying to be realistic when they say “he may never”. I’ve heard it myself. I don’t choose to think in those terms. Like you wrote, there is always hope.
    With any child, we never know what they may achieve. Our job as parents is to push, catch & assist them on their journey.
    All those files, all those poor dead trees😕

    1. You’re absolutely right. The words are very tough to hear at first and then I’ve seen the barriers pushed down, which is awesome. And, just as you do, I will work twice as hard at something to help him break those barriers down 🙂 So many trees!

  2. Hope is important. But also remember that we all have our “may nevers” and we are each making our way through life. Declan’s future may look different from the next kid’s but that has nothing to do with how happy he will be throughout his life, which IMO is the most important measure,

    1. You’re right – we do. I sometimes have to stop myself from saying “He’s supposed to be able to do that now…..” and have to concede that he may never do one thing or the next. But you’re right – that is all I want for any of my kids. For them to be happy whatever that happiness may look like. It is what is most important to me for eah of them

    1. I read a book once that said even if you are making imperfect progress, it’s still progress. And my motto is #HopeAlways#HaveFaith

      Hugs to you and your family Robyn.

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