Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Learning to Live with a Learning Disabled Child.

 Ok so it has been over a month since I last checked in. I know bad messy mommy. How can I become organized if I can't even keep up with a simple blog? Well, there is a reason I haven't been around. Not only was I dealing with the holidays but I was also dealing with a tough and stressful situation at home.

I've mentioned before that it seems that my son has some learning disabilities.  Well after much testing the school has finally recognized what my husband and I have feared for a few years and his kindergarten teacher noticed right away. My son has always been not quite right when it came to learning and communicating things.  He only spoke one or two words by the age of 2 and it wasn't until he was 2 1/2-3 years old that he began to speak in 2-3 word sentances. Try as we might he couldn't learn his colors, abc's nor his numbers. He knew the color blue and at one point he could count to 10 but somewhere along the way lost it. He was nearly 4 before he was fully potty trained.

My son just made the kindergarten cutoff this year. I mean litterally by a few days. Had he been born when I was due he would have been comfortably past the cutoff date. Last year I contacted the school before we registered him and expressed my concern. The then principle (who has since retired) was nice and we spoke back and forth. I was told not to worry and to send him anyway but that I would not be penalized for keeping him home another year since it was so close to the cutoff date. He informed they had children there who came from families that only speak Spanish to those who have never even seen a book or held a crayon. At the time my fears were relieved.

Pretty much from the moment he entered his kindergarten classroom it was evident to his teacher that he was not like the other kids. She would ask him to sit and two minutes later he was up and out of his chair. They eventually had to put him at his own little desk away from the other children because he kept touch and messing up their work. The school's behaviorist observed him and said that while he had some bad behaviors it was obvious that his behavior was not him being defiant. Something else was going on. My happy go lucky son was starting to become withdrawn, angry, and depressed. He used to be such a cuddle bunny and now he wouldn't want to cuddle anymore. He started off being so happy going to school to begging me to stay home. He broke my heart when the one day he looked up me with tears in his shining blue eyes and said "they'll laugh at me". I had begun to suspect that some of the students were bullying him at school because of the fact that he is different. I talked to his teacher and she said that they all mother him but that he hasn't made any friends or connections. She said there was no way their bullying him because there is always an adult with my son. Yet my once carefree and quick to smile and laugh son was being affected. He knew he was different from the others and it was bothering him.

It took the school nearly 2 semesters to complete evaluations and testings of my son. Even though my husband and I spoke up and voiced our concerns before day one of school and his teacher expressed her concerns after only 2 weeks of teaching him. After all of the tests it seems that my son has below average intelligence. So while he is not mentally retarded he most likely struggle for the rest of his life. He starts in his new special education class today. He has already visited the class  a couple of times and from what I'm told it is like night and day. He was beaming and excited the whole time he was there.  He will also get speech therapy twice a week and see occupational therapist twice a week.

So while I'm happy that my son is where he needs to be to blossom and thrive I've got some mixed feelings. I remember the special ed kids being bullied and made fun of when I was in school. I also feel guilt like what did I do wrong? Was it when I was pregnant? What could I have done differently? Will he always be different from the other kids and will he be able to handle it if he is?  Will he be able to function well enough on his own when he is older? Will he have a job and get married?


  1. Hi Melissa,It's Amber from the AmberGlamourLand store on Etsy. I just read your entry about your little boy and i know all to well the feeling.My 2 oldest son were diagnoses with Autism when they were both 2 yrs old.I had those same feelings of,"what did i do wrong?" Or
    "Will they ever live on their own?" It was definitely devestating at first, but now my boys are 4 and five and it does get easier especially when you see them thrivivng and learing. Each milestone they meet is just that much more special!

    1. Amber,
      Thanks so much. It is getting easier especially because already we are seeing some positive changes. He knows his colors and is starting to recognize the letters of the alphabet. Our close friend found out last year that his youngest son is autistic so I can only imagine what you are going through. I think being a mommy of a special needs child just makes you more of a saint.