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Dealing with Developmentally Different Children: The Parent’s Perspective

A common rite of passage for many new parents is to make note of all the developmental milestones… that first smile, that first babble. The first year of life is a monumental period of development for young humans. As parents, we worry if they are doing things fast enough. With my second one, he was so behind on getting his teeth in, I was starting to think they were going to have to X-Ray him to see if there were any teeth to come in. (There were). As we meet together with other parents and watch our babies parallel play as they call it, we share and vent about the highs and lows of parenting. But for some parents, those who are raising developmentally asynchronous children, such sharing seshes can seem completing isolating. For a child with a hidden developmental disorder or learning disability, the first year or so can even seem typical. It isn’t till later developmental milestone moments come and go that the parent may suspect something is a little bit different. Finding a place to share these moments: frustration, intense love, intense worry; is difficult. There are so many things that are difficult to understand about raising an asynchronous child if you have never walked that path.

Even harder to describe are the situations a parent finds themselves in if there child is developmentally advanced. When we found out our youngest’s IQ was off the chart, particularly in the area of vocabulary (at age 7 he had the vocabulary test score of late highschool/ early college.), it explained a lot. And while that is a proud mom moment, for sure, I cannot express the amount of challenges it presents to raise a child who has the expressive ability of an 18 year old with a 7 year old filter. That’s where the asynchronous development came in. He was very advanced intellectually, but developmentally, speaking from an emotional stand point, he was right on track. Only problem is, what we all know about a 7 year old’s filter and impulse control, is that it can be nearly non-existent. LOL (Kinda). This situation created a lot of hilariously (and not so funny)difficult moments. But it was also very hard to find someone who understood the behavioral components that come along with it.

So, in short my advice is to find “your people.” I was fortunate to fall into a great group of ladies who were easy to talk to and non-judgemental. If you aren’t able to find a group where you feel comfortable, look for moms who may be experiencing the same or similar challenges and reach out to show solidarity. Raising an asynchronous child with developmental differences is exhausting, confusing, and often elicits some of the most judgmental comments. (#beenthere).

If you’re looking for a group to share in a safe space, check out a group I co-host, called MOSS (Mothers of Struggling Superheroes). We meet on Fridays at 7:30 PST. More info can be found on our Facebook page: MOSS.

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