The Super Whites The ordinary life of a Super Mum

The Super Whites
Same, same but different.

The main thing that Ron and I took away from the 45 minute assessment we had with the speech pathologist last Tuesday, was that although we have two daughters, we need to parent them as though we had one ape and one donkey. (Don’t make me tell you which daughter is which!)

It was an invaluable assessment, the good news is that Stella is fine, she shows all the normal signs of communication, great concentration and absolutely no desire whatsoever to please us. This is in direct contrast to Amy who loved to be rewarded for her efforts and would go to great lengths to copy whatever words we threw at her.

The short version of events is that Ron and I have been going about helping Stella with her speech development in a way which was unlikely to achieve success because Stella is a completely different child to her older sister and what worked with one, will not work with the other. Although this lesson was learnt within the constraints of a speech therapists office, it actually applies to lots of other areas of our children’s lives and Ron and I both feel quite relieved that our concerns for Stella’s speech have allowed us to wake up to the fact that our children have different needs.

When Amy was learning to talk, I talked a lot, I showed her things and pointed things out to her and told her all sorts of stories about how things worked and why things were that way and asked her lots of questions and in return she parroted back at me what I said and then slowly started putting words into sentences and before too long (around 18 months to 2 years) we were having full conversations with each other. Stella on the other hand needs the opposite stimulation to encourage her to talk.

Stella needs quiet time and the space to think about words before she uses them. She needs to want to communicate and we have to all slow down our talking around her to give her this space. Instead of talking at Stella and expecting her to copy us, we need to give her the words we would expect her to use. Instead of “would you like me to help you fix that, here, pass it to Mummy and I will put it back together, see the pieces fit like that, right, all fixed, Stella’s toy is fixed, say thank you Mummy” I need to say quietly “Mummy fix?” and then wait for her confirmation or denial.

The speech therapist was able to see in a few minutes what we have been overlooking for months. Stella doesn’t need to speak, not because someone else is speaking for her, but there is no room for her to speak. She is going to do it in her own time and while we make it easy for her to communicate, there is less need for  her to learn. She isn’t impressed by big cuddles and well done’s and rewards, she just wants what she wants and if we quietly encourage her, with a few choice words and even some simple signs, soon enough she will realise that there is room for her to talk in our loud, crazy, chatty family.

So we go forward with some new ideas and finally, no worry or concern at all. Stella will be fine, in her own time and we will continue learning to love and parent our girls equally but in very different ways.

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8 Responses to Same, same but different.

  1. Pingback: Stella – the speech edition | The Super Whites

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