“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”
(The basketball hoop, from the snow and ice storm January 19. We ended up with 5” of snow covered with 1” of ice, then topped with another 1” of snow. Gorgeous but dangerous.)
It’s been a long week. I think I’m glad we’re finally to the end, quite frankly. If it were up to me, we’d cancel the rest of today and tomorrow and move straight into Saturday.
Last weekend was crazy busy. Sick people (read that an adult male) at home. Last home basketball game of the season, with the concomitant responsibilities (concession stand food, senior night activities, post game clean up). Winter storm clean up. Baby shower. Wedding. Anticipation of a meeting with the neuropsychology team at Children’s on Monday. Sunday night, it all blew up. I came home from the wedding with a killer migraine and promptly fell asleep on the sofa. I’m sure the migraine and resulting nausea were stress induced. Monday wasn’t much better—speech therapy and school for the little guys while battling a migraine isn’t fun. We survived. After lunch, I dropped the dynamic duo off with their big sister, met up with Jim, and headed to the hospital to discuss the results of the testing.
I am SO glad we did this!! I was incredibly nervous going into Monday afternoon’s meeting. Although I knew for sure that we would learn some things, I had this irrational fear that we would be told either a) he’s totally normal and everything is all in your heads; or b) this is as good as it’s ever going to get and you’d better figure out how you’re going to handle having him live with you for the rest of your lives because he’s never going to be able to learn. Neither, of course, is true.
Instead, the afternoon meeting was filled with laughter, good news, and great news. The good news is that neither of the extremes I feared is remotely close to true. He has some fairly significant learning issues, but they can be overcome. We also learned something totally fascinating! Kids with craniofacial issues like cleft lip and cleft palate often have brain differences too. Those systems all form at the same time. The issue? Some of the brain development is delayed, and it can be as much as 2 years delayed. (That explains our concern about a 4 or 5 year old in a 7 year old’s body!) Craniofacial kids will be neurologically delayed by about 2 years for much of their formative life, catching up somewhere around age 23-25 because of the brain’s neuroplasticity (ability to adapt). Amazing! The great news? Although the doctor is not a proponent of home education, she’s all for it in his case. When we did the pre-assessment interview, I outlined my concerns for her and shared my observations. On testing day, I filled out 4 questionnaires and had a long conversation with the doctor. He performed nearly 100% to what I had reported, seen, and observed! That’s almost unheard of. She was so surprised to have a parent that ‘in tune’ with their child!! Umm….hello??? We are TOGETHER roughly 16 hours/day every single day. I see how he learns…or doesn’t. She was impressed with our curriculum selections for him…almost all exactly what he needs: hands-on, mastery based math. Reading based science/history/language arts. Multi-sensory phonics instruction. We’ve got it covered, even before knowing what the issues are.
I wish I could say everything is now just peachy. It’s not. And, quite frankly, I expect a bumpy road for many years. But we have a much better handle on what to expect and on how to help him learn. The doctor wants him reevaluated next January, so we’ve got some things to accomplish! It is my fervent hope we can go in next winter and show her just what a homeschooled student can do. I don’t anticipate that he’ll be able to read fluently, but that’s okay. Keeping his ‘brain age’ in mind, I’m going to hide away some weekend soon and set some goals for him. I know he’s capable of more than we’re doing now…it’s more a matter of adjusting things here so that we have the right mix of lessons and reinforcement to see success. Knowing that we’re doing the right thing for him helps on the tough days. Keeping the big picture in mind, we move forward!
With renewed hope…
“For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11