Hey, y’all! Is it just me or is this year going by super fast?
A lot is changing—and it’s not easy keeping up. I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to process all that has happened in the last year.
And honestly, I just don’t really get the chance to hit pause. Do you?
I asked for a month off of work—this was absolutely terrifying as a Black woman who is still learning how to advocate for herself.
But my boss was very understanding. This is more than just having time to take care of my son. It’s about having time to take care of myself. Also, can we talk about how I actually got to have an HR meeting end well for me this time!?
Anyway, I just wanted to announce that I’m going to be presenting at Women in Language 2022 tomorrow. My presentation will be about my experience raising my special needs child multilingual.
What is Women in Language?
Women in Language started as a way to create a safe space for women. This is its fifth year running. It’s a four-day event that includes several talks and a panel.
The speakers share a wide range of languages and experiences. To increase diversity, they’ve introduced a nomination system. Aaaand ya girl got nominated!
What Will My Presentation Be About?
.Last month my 3-year-old son Chris finally got an official diagnosis for his autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and speech delay.
While I was already aware of the signs, having the actual diagnosis has opened so many doors for us in terms of access to medical services and applying for financial assistance.
At first I didn’t think this experience had anything to do with multilingual parenting. The more I thought about how transformative going from denying my son’s autism and speech delay to fully embracing his needs, the more I knew I wanted to share my story.
Speech delay was like a scary monster for me. And then being told my son was autistic was like going into an unknown. I thought about cutting Spanish and Japanese out of his life entirely.
As a single mom divorcing a native speaker of Spanish, I didn’t exactly feel confident in raising my son to speak Spanish. I’m comfortable with not being a native speaker of Japanese, but I thought that speaking Japanese would further confuse my son. I felt overwhelmed. How was I supposed to handle teaching my son languages and helping him with his special needs?
Why Special Needs and Multilingualism?
Getting speech therapy services for my son and reconnecting with the Spanish and Japanese language in a healthy way have had a huge impact on how I approach multilingual parenting.
I thought that sharing my experience with going from denial to advocacy for my son would help shed light on the importance of mental health and how we frame conversations around neurodivergent children growing up in multilingual homes.
I hope you’ll snag a ticket and join me on Friday to learn about this ongoing journey that has changed my life for the better. I hope to give more than just tips on multilingual parenting. I want to connect with parents who may feel lost and hopeless as I did around a year ago.