When Your Child with Speech Delays Says I Love You

When Jax was born, doctors said he had a 4% chance of healthy survival. They said he probably wouldn’t walk. He would have trouble eating and gaining weight. They said he might have developmental disabilities.

They said he might not talk.

For me, hearing that my child might not talk hit me hard. I come from a family of talkers – we don’t shut up, actually. What would it be like to have a child that could not participate in our conversations?

Jax has always been a babbler, so I thought that we dodged the “speech delay” bullet. But when his NICU follow-up test results came back as delayed in receptive and expressive language, I wasn’t so sure. Was this what those doctors were talking about? Would he always be behind? Would he ever be able to understand what we were saying? Would we ever be able to understand what he was saying? Would he talk (with actual words instead of babbling)?

Jax started speech therapy. His speech therapist comes to our house every other week for two hours. We have homework that we practice everyday. He’s been making HUGE gains. He’s adding new words everyday! It’s like a light switched on for him and with the help of his therapist, and the exercises we do at home, he’s learning how to communicate with words!

Today was the day I have been waiting for. The day I thought might not ever come.

Today is the day that Jax said “I love you!” 

I fell to my knees and cried happy tears. Jax smiled at me and said it again!

It came out more like “I woo do” but for a child with speech delays, this is more than enough. This is proof that statistics are not always true. This is proof that preemies can do hard things.

This is proof that it’s ok to have hope.

toddler says I love you