Celebrating the Little Things
Whether your child has a formal diagnosis or is simply having some trouble with their communication and learning, it can be hard as a parent or carer to hear that your little one has “difficulties” and will need therapy. It can continue to be hard when change appears to be slow and you begin to wonder whether significant improvement will be possible. It’s important to acknowledge when these thoughts and emotions are having an effect on you and your child and to learn that yes, it may take a little time, but every new step your child makes deserves celebration.
Here are some helpful ways to stay on track with your positive thinking:
Recognise that every child is different.
It’s hard not to compare your child to others, especially when Julia at school is speaking like a grown-up and my little Ned is still hard to understand. But did you and all your siblings learn to drive in exactly the same way and in exactly the same time? Or did you or one of your brothers or sisters take a little longer, was the clutch extra tricky to master? Learning is a dynamic process and we all do it in different ways, so try not to stress too much if your child is doing things a little differently to others.
2. Appreciate the little milestones.
To you or I, saying the /k/ sound seems so insignificant and tiny that it probably has never been given a passing thought. For your little one however, this sound may be the trickiest thing they have ever had to learn. So when she says it for the first time, do not undervalue the occasion! It is special and huge achievement for your child. Showing them how excited and proud you are and this will motivate them even more to continue trying with anything else they are having trouble with.
3. Strive for the future but be accepting of today.
Maybe you were really hoping to see some changes this week but it just didn’t happen. Maybe your child will need some more help before they get to the next stage. That’s okay. Learning to accept the here and now, not pushing for too much and showing your child that everything will be okay no matter what, is very important for maintaining a happy outlook both for yourself, as well as your whole family.
Life is never smooth-sailing, particularly with children. Throw in speech and language difficulties and it sure can be a bumpy ride! Nobody can be smiling all the time, but we shouldn’t forget that even the little things deserve a hooray.