What the Person Who Commented on My Son's Lack of Speech Didn't Know

brothers smiling with bug hats on
My boys

I’m sure you didn’t know who I was, sitting in front of you watching my two littlest guys. They were singing songs about bugs for an end of the year kindergarten performance.

I’m sure you didn’t know that was my youngest son on the end, smiling as he played with his pipe cleaner “tentacles.”

I’m sure you didn’t know I heard your comment when you said, “That boy on the end isn’t even singing!”

I’m sure you didn’t know that while I proudly watched both my boys, the comment stung.

I’m sure you didn’t know that he is on the autism spectrum and is predominantly nonverbal due to speech apraxia, even though his aide sat next to him.

I’m sure you didn’t know how many hours my little guy has spent in speech to be able to vocalize the words he does today. (Two to three days a week, an hour at a time for the past three and a half years.)

I’m sure you didn’t know how many nights all six kids and myself piled on my bed practicing these songs with him.

I’m sure you didn’t know how he would hand us the papers with the lyrics on them and smile as we sang them with/to him.

I’m sure you didn’t know how we worried if he would even be able to stand with his classmates and be a part of the performance, since he had melted down during practices.

I’m sure you didn’t know my heart was exploding with pride that day to see both my little guys on that stage, “singing” their bug songs in their own unique way.

I’m sure you didn’t know that while that boy on the end may not have looked to you as if he was singing, in my eyes, he was making beautiful music.

The Mighty is asking the following: What is a part of your or a loved one’s disease, disability or mental illness that no one is aware of? Why is it time to start talking about it? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Apraxia

These Words From a Genetic Counselor Changed the Way I See My Son's Apraxia Diagnosis

Allison’s son. When Reed was first diagnosed with hypotonia and apraxia, some of the most healing words spoken to me were from a stranger — a genetic counselor tasked with talking to us over the phone about the life-altering condition Reed had. She told me the story I didn’t know yet: Reed’s diagnosis didn’t define him; it simply [...]

A Mother's Thoughts When Her Child Doesn't Speak

When your child has delays in language, you may experience many emotions and thoughts as a mother. When my daughter was born with Down syndrome, I assumed she would have delayed language, as children with Down syndrome commonly begin speaking at a later age. However, that later age came and went with no words. Today at age 10, my [...]

When My 4-Year-Old Son With Apraxia Would Say, 'I Hate Dad'

“I hate Dad!” I heard it over and over again from my 4-year-old son, Ben, who has childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) and developmental delays. It came out of nowhere and struck us really hard. Ben has always preferred me (I’m his mom, of course!), but suddenly, his preference skyrocketed. I was the only one who could [...]

To the Wendy's Cashier Who Gave My Son Lunch With a Side of Hope

Dear Donna, a cashier at Wendy’s: My 10-year-old and I stopped in for lunch today on your shift. I could see after you asked him how he was doing today that his jumbled answer might have caught you off guard. You shifted your eyes to me and then back to him as he continued… something [...]