'Developmental delay' is something you hear from day one when your child has substantial special needs. Over time, I've gotten comfortable with the words and what they mean: Elsa is on her own path, and she'll do things if and when she can.
While I believe that's true, and accept it completely, naturally there have been some hard moments. For instance, when she was two years old or so, it was tough meeting a friend's new baby and watching the infant so easily reach milestones that we'd been working on for so long. That we are STILL working on today.
Elsa's therapists and educators often ask me, "What are your goals for Elsa?" For five years, my recurrent (often emotional) answer has been, "I just want her to want to play with something."
Playing comes easily when you're a typically developing child. (Most babies purposefully grab an object between four and eight months of age.) But for Elsa, that's just not so. She's certainly shown interest in toys, but to access things, she requires "hand-over-hand" assistance. (Her sisters have become pros at this. Here they are giving her worms...)
Elsa can reach for and activate toys with a swipe or banging motion. But she hasn't been able to pick up, hold and manipulate a toy... until now.
News flash: My girl has started PLAYING WITH PURPOSE. I cannot overstate how huge this development is. Watch her pursue and successfully grasp the balls in this basin. (Oh my gosh, guys, this is SO hard for her!!)
Exciting, right?!? But what does it mean? Everything. Elsa can play!! Play is foundational. It's how children explore the world. Test. Try. Fail. Try again.
I'm over the moon for her newfound independence and hunger for play. Delayed development is development worth celebrating. My heart bursts. Go Elsa go!