Life is not a race. A child’s development is not a competition.
Wyatt Maktrav is a late talker.
When he was 2 years old, I was expecting him to say a few words but to no avail. 3 years old, 4 years old, still none.
I started questioning myself. Where did I go wrong? I did everything I could.
We sent him to a nursery school when he was 4 but he couldn’t catch up to his peers who are already talking. We took him out of school after a few months because the teachers were always complaining. Wyatt couldn’t follow instructions.
I could hear other parents every time I will fetch him saying:
“Baka hindi nila kinakausap.”
“Babad ata sa cellphone kaya hindi pa nagsasalita.”
“Pinapabayaan lang ata nila yung bata.”
People started comparing.
“Buti pa si ganito ang galing na magsalita.”
“Yung anak ni ganyan ang galing na magbasa.”
I can’t help but be envious and just cry it out. “Why is my son not like them?”
I was blaming myself. During those years, he wasn’t using any gadgets yet. I was thinking maybe because we always go hiking since he was a baby and it damaged his brain and development? Am I not a good mom? I don’t know.
His pedia said everything’s normal. We have nothing to worry about.
But even though he wasn’t talking yet, he used to communicate to us through drawing. Whenever we can’t understand him, he was getting frustrated and he will draw it. Only then we would understand what he wanted to say.
I was so focused on the standards of other people around us that I overlooked my kid’s talent, his own milestone.
He draws beautifully that other kids his age can’t do. He loves anything art-related and he’s very creative. Just give him a cardboard, scissors, and glue, he’ll make something awesome out of it. He also loved doing experiments.
When we were in New Zealand, he found a piano on the hostel where we were staying. It was his first time to touch it but I was so surprised he played nursery rhymes! He figured it out on his own! Nobody taught him.
When I realized his talents, I just gave up the thought of pressuring him to talk. I really thought he won’t be able to talk and I was ready to accept that wholeheartedly.
We sent him to an Occupational Therapist and Behavior Analyst, thrice a week for about 9 months. We saw a very big improvement.
Finally, Wyatt started talking at 5 years old. He can finally communicate to us! I was so relieved.
Now, he is very talkative and when you talk to him, you’ll be the one to give up! He has so many questions, but that’s fine for us. We just need to be patient.
His questions revolve around the topics of animals, plants, solar system, and anything Science-related. Most of the time, I was also learning through his questions.
BUT! The next problem is reading.
I tried several techniques to teach him how to read (phonics, word families, CVC words, sight words) but he just couldn’t grasp it.
When I taught him addition and subtraction, he learned it in an instant. Another realization came… My son’s strengths are Math and Science.
I didn’t pressure him to read. We stopped our sight words session and I just let him do what he wants. He keeps doing Math problems and drawing.
But lo and behold, he started reading… on his own! It came as a surprise because it’s so sudden. Like yesterday he couldn’t read yet, then the next morning he’s already reading fast.
While other kids can read at 3 years old, he is 7 years old when he reached this milestone. But then again, that’s fine. Sometimes, he will say words that I couldn’t understand and I will search for the meaning. I am expanding my vocabulary because of him.
You see, children have different capabilities. They have their own pacing in life.
As a first-time parent, I learned to be patient with my child’s development and support him with his interests because life is not a race.