Parenting

A milestone to celebrate: Guess who's on the move?

Anchel opens up about special needs parenting by sharing Syona’s most recent achievement.

Photo: Syona on the move

I’ve been hanging on to a bit of a secret for the past couple of weeks…

My previously immobile child is now able to move around! If we put Syona down on her belly she pulls herself forward using both her arms. It’s neither pretty nor elegant. It’s not typical four-point crawling, or even the slightly less glamorous commando crawling. It’s a full-blown body drag (picture an inchworm with arms).

As my friend Barb (who has a three-year-old with Cerebral Palsy and runs Zach’s List — an online classified website for special needs products) says, with our special kiddos it is often two steps forward and one step back. So I’ve been waiting to share this with you because I wanted to make sure that she truly was on the move, and this inchworm maneuver of hers was really going to stick.

For the past year and a half, my main wish for Syona is that she could play on the floor and choose what toy she wanted to play with. And when that toy rolled or was thrown out of her reach, that she could go and get it if she wanted to keep playing with it or move around and pick another one of the million toys that occupy our floor on a daily basis. Before this newfound mobility, Syona would pout and whine and cry for someone to get the toy for her. And now, well, she still pouts and whines and cries for someone to get the toy for her, but we tell her to pull herself forward and get it herself… and she does.

We’ve seen a bit of an explosion in terms of Syona’s development. She’s making new sounds, learning new skills and seems to understand more than ever before. To outside eyes, this progress may not be as visible or seem as significant, but to us it means the world.

Every time there is a development we celebrate. Sometimes these gains are significant (like what I’m telling you today) and other days it is small (yay, Syona ate half a sandwich).

Living in the special needs world, you really don’t know what to expect from your child. Your definition of milestones changes and your understanding of the complex series of steps involved in any sort of development from physical to mental to emotional increases and evolves to a point that you didn’t ever think possible. I know that some of you reading this may have kiddos who aren’t mobile, others have children who are non-verbal, some of your children may have cognitive delays, and a few might even have kids who are following the textbook definition of “typical” (whatever that is!).

My point is simple: Diversity in abilities forces us to define our own “normal” and allows us to choose what we celebrate.

What have your children recently achieved? What milestones are you looking forward to for your child?