Special needs

Conversations with my toddler

Anchel Krishna discusses the significance of a simple conversation with her daughter.

IMG_00000336 Syona chats with her mom about school. Photo: Anchel Krishna

Follow along as Anchel Krishna shares her experiences as mother to Syona, an extraordinary toddler with cerebral palsy.

Syona started school two weeks ago. As expected there have been lots of tears, but there is less crying than there was when we attempted nursery school last year. Her teacher always asks Syona why she’s crying and Syona responds that she is crying because she’s mad (hey, at least she’s honest). She doesn’t like being left alone or have adults give attention to anyone but her. We work on this skill at home as well, and I’m confident that the consistency will help ensure Syona adjust in the next few weeks.

Over the past six months I’ve written a lot of posts about Syona’s speech development because she’s making some major gains (music to my ears)! She has some oral motor planning issues because of her cerebral palsy. This makes speaking a challenge and it is something that we continuously work on.

Last week, Syona and I were sitting on the couch, along with Syona’s grandma (my mother-in-law) who takes care of her while Dilip and I are at work. This is how the conversation went:

Me: "Syona, what did you do today?"

Syona: “Cool.” (school)


Me: “School! You went to school.”

Grandma: “Syona, tell Mommy who your friends are.”

Syona: “Cried a little bit.”

Me: “Oh, you cried a little bit? That’s OK. Maybe you can cry less tomorrow.”

I was floored. Why? Well, Syona chose — CHOSE — to ignore the question she was being asked and continued on with what she wanted to say. No prompting, no nothing. She had a message, she had something she wanted to tell me… and she told me.


We’ve experienced challenges with Syona communicating her pain, and other issues. Last year it took us six months to figure out that she was really unhappy at her old nursery school (not just because of the separation, but because it wasn’t as inclusive of an environment).

Read more: Learning to communicate with words >

As Syona continues to progress in her verbal and non-verbal communication skills, part of my anxiety has decreased slightly. As a parent of a child with communication challenges you always worry that your child won’t be able to tell you if something is wrong. Like most parents, we will continue to work on that skill. But this is significant process and I can’t wait to continue conversations with my daughter.

And you know what, Syona? When I wrote this, I cried a little bit too. I can’t wait to hear about the rest of your school adventures.

How do your kids communicate with you? Do you have conversations with your toddlers?

This article was originally published on Sep 24, 2013

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