Is This Normal?
Linda Wechter-Ashkin PhD NCSP BC-TMHC ADHD CCSP
Rikki began talking the minute she realized that her mouth could make words but not Alex. Alex took his time. He did a lot of pointing and screaming but not much talking. He also really liked to line up cars and they had to be lined up just the right way or there was hell to pay. So, from my knowledge of autism, I know that delayed speech and lining up items is related to autism, but Alex is not autistic. When he began to talk he talked in full sentences and although he liked to line up cars, he also liked to do many other things. When Alex started to talk, he had some difficulty with R’s which was adorable, but did he have a speech disorder? Alex did not have a speech disorder, just immature speech and by second grade he sadly learned to say his R’s. Having a big sister and spending most of his early years with her and her friends made him quite fond of high heels, hairbands, and pushing dolls in baby carriages. Rikki asked is Alex gay. Alex is not gay; he just was given the opportunity to explore whatever he wanted to. When Alex was in 4th grade, he developed both a motor and a verbal tic. Did he have Tourette’s? Alex did not have Tourette’s, but he did have anxiety which would have to be dealt with throughout his life. It was deeply ingrained in his heritage.
As a young parent we can drive ourselves, our spouses, and our children crazy with fears. We can have a permanent seat in the pediatrician’s office, have them in therapy by the age of 3, and miss out on all of the joys of parenthood. I regret missing out on some many great experiences worrying about a bump, a fever, a rash, or a bellyache. Worrying about their futures and what I could do to make sure their futures were bright. As a parent of young children, I pray that you will give your fears to God. He knows the whole picture. He knows what is, what was, and what will be. Actively make a choice to release them from your grip and place their little hands in the safe and strong hands of God. Alex is incredibly smart, fiercely loyal, and loves God with all of his heart. He has a tremendous sense of humor but still carefully chooses his words. He’s learned to say his R’s and I haven’t seen him playing with dolls for a while. He still tics on occasion and his anxiety has been a silent partner for him throughout the years. God knew when I fretted about him not speaking that he would become a physician and would be incredibly bright. He knew that he would stand by his girlfriend as she lost her mother and again when she got hit by a bus. He knew he would be offered an internship next door and yet he would move to Naples, and he knew that would be the right decision. I pray that you will hold those little hands tightly guiding your children through the maze of life, but that you will never lose sight of who is holding your hand as you guide them.