30 Words

Since Covid started, and the world changed, me and a whole other bunch of parents have been trying to explain the unique ways it has impacted kids with special needs.

We speak of loss of services and supports. We share stories of regressions and loss of skills. Some dare even share the harder parts. Often our stories are met with sympathy. Some shame.

But we keep talking. We keep trying to get the world to see the hidden children.

A few days ago it dawned on me that my son Cooper who is 9, and said his first word at age 8, had lost all but two of his words.

He was up to 30.

Let that sink in. A month ago he had 30 words. ‘Home. Dad. Paper. Sawyer. Harbor. Cookie. Stop. Help.’ And so on.

30 words that he worked so hard for. Countless hours of speech therapy, practicing with mom, trying harder than any kid should ever have to try at anything…

Each word celebrated as the treasure it is to his dad and I.

Gone. Now he communicates with screams and grunts. Some humming.

His anxiety is at an all time high. Because he can’t communicate. I’m sure he’s scared. Confused. Lost in all the shuffle.

Imagine not speaking a word until you were 8. Then finally people can understand you. And suddenly. Seemingly overnight. Gone.

He still has ‘mom’ and ‘snack.’

Those two words come out a few times a day. But the rest, they have disappeared. Evaporated.

I’m trying not to be scared. But the fear is rising up. He worked so hard. And I told myself when he hit 30 words that I didn’t care if he ever said another one because I was so proud of him. 30 was enough.

This is a regression. This is a loss of services and supports and a life that he was thriving in.

The words will come back. I know it. Because I believe in him. Because he is determined. Because I will never give up hope in him.

A lady a while back told me that it’s ALWAYS about the special needs kids. And she wasn’t saying it nicely.

Well lady, I imagine a lot more people would care and take it seriously if their children stopped speaking.

He will get through this. We will get through this. But as more time goes by…the worry builds.

I don’t want him to lose anymore skills. I don’t want to lose him either.

This is why parents like me keep talking. So our kids aren’t forgotten. I just hope it’s enough.

Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook, subscribe for exclusive videos, and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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