October 15, 2012

Empathy

The other day, as I sat waiting for SB while she had speech therapy, I overheard a conversation that caught my attention. One of the therapists, Miss Laurie was talking to a mom about her son, and telling her they suspected he has Apraxia.

The mom was concerned. And, as she listened to the therapist describe the condition, she agreed she had noticed many of the key characteristics in her young son (two years old). Then she asked, "If he does have Apraxia, will he be able to live a normal life?

That question took me back to when speech therapists were first telling us they suspected SB had the condition. I was so upset. So worried. So afraid. I cried so many tears. It's hard for me to think about those days. And simply amazing to reflect on how far we have come since then.

Eventually, the mom came and sat in a chair next to me with her infant son. He was sweet and happy and after interacting with him a bit I said to her, "I couldn't help but overhear you talking to Miss Laurie. My daughter has Apraxia."

She looked at me, apprehension and sadness in her eyes.

"At two years old," I continued, "she could not speak at all. Now she is almost four and doing fantastic. She's in preschool and thriving."

I watched a wave a relief come over her. Then the door to the waiting room opened and Miss Laurie brought her son back to her. The sadness returned to her eyes as she held him in her lap and looked down at him.

He was more verbal than SB had been at that age, actually trying to use words, but they were not recognizable. No one was able to understand what he said. As the mom and Miss Laurie began to talk about scheduling his therapy, the door opened again and SB came bounding in.

"Mommy, I got candy corn!" she shrieked, excited about her reward for working hard in her session.

Miss Laurie looked at me and asked, "Do you mind if I share?"

"I already did," I told her. Then I looked at the mom. "I'm sure we'll see each other again. Please don't hesitate to ask me questions. I've been down the road you are preparing to travel. My daughter still has a long way to go, but she is doing great. They can and do overcome it."

SB took my hand and began to pull me out of the room, eager to go "play games" with the lady at the children's hospital. Which is story for another day...

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