So much has gone on since I last wrote that it has taken me a long time to process it all and be able to sit down and write again. I think the hardest thing about being a parent of children with special needs is you never know what to blame problems on or even where to attribute life's successes.
This summer was horrendous for matthew. I wasnt sure we would survive it together and there were weeks that I had to do the unthinkable and begin to research residential programs for Matthew. In a nutshell, his summer school experience ended with mobile crisis being called two days in a row because he was so out of control. He had been fine both days going to school, but as we pulled into the school he became furious and was unable to be calmed back down. Each day after taking an extra clonodine and over an hour of a tantrum, he was able to settle. It is heartwrenching to see your child in agony like this. To know his brain is being tortured and there is nothing you can do to help him. It was horrendous to watch and to be a part of, and exhausting two days in a row.
matthew ended the summer at an amazing summer camp for children with special needs. I was worried about sending him, but also knew the boys and I needed the break, and that most likely Matthew would do well at camp. For Matthew, if he isn't comfortable with you, it is highly unlikely that you will see him struggle. I knew in 7 days of camp there was no way he would become comfortable, and he would be so busy, so I sent him with the hope that he would be successful.
He not only was successful, but he thrived at camp- it was a group of 10 children, all with special needs. 5 boys, and 5 girls and a wonderful staff! My hope is that they will have found enough success with this program to offer it again next summer and that eventually David and Matthew will both have the opportunity to experience a jewish summer camp.
The school year has started relatively well. David has grown in so many ways- I have not caught up to where he is and how capable he has become. My brother purchased an IPAD for David over the summer and it has been life altering. David has never been able to use a mouse, so in this age of technology he has been deprived all of the computer games that are part of life for children. Well, less than a day after getting the IPAD David was making up for lost time. It is so wonderful to see him playing games, doing puzzles, and entertaining himself and totally happy.
Largely in part to the reading APPS, and amazing teachers, and I think he was just ready, David is now reading! I never thought I would see the day that he would read! david loves books, given a chance, he sleeps with books, so to see him have the pleasure of reading makes my heart absolutely burst!
Last week David was given his first spelling assignment. I have to admit, I went into a cold sweat.....what was the teacher thinking? David can hardly write his name and this is after years of trying and practice. How was he going to do spelling? Was this a mistake? An error? a cruel joke? No, it was our new reality because David was ready! He got 4 out of 5 words correct, and the word he got wrong was "or" which he spelled "ro", so that was pretty close! He and I are doing Math homework each week now, practicing spelling, and he is inquisitive and asking about the planets, wants to know where China and Japan are located, and what animals live in each country! For the little boy, who no one had a guess how far he would come, my heart explodes....there are no more limits, only steady plugging away and david will learn everything!
Jacob is thriving in Pre-k. As a child who turns 5 in November, he could have gone to kindergarten, and I second guessed often this summer whether holding him back was the best choice, but he is truly thriving! His teachers are incredible, and he is gaining the self esteem and skills that will put him in an amazing place for kindergarten a year from now. His quick wit, and charming smile make him well loved by his teachers. he is making friendships and truly an invested partner in friendships with peers which is a new experience for me as a mom. He is invited on playdates, and wants to have friends over and it is truly a joy to experience these parts of parenthood.
As for matthew, the goal for school was for him to have a "SUPER SEPTEMBER". He had 2 rough days, but the rest of the month was amazing. His teacher is the same one he had in 1st and 2nd grade and she has only gotten better with experience. She is truly invested in Matthew having a successful school year.
Even this Friday, when Matthew struggled for over 2 hours, she kept pointing out that while he was spitting and cursing, he wasn't punching or hitting, and to her that was success! If you ask me that is looking at the cup more than half full! I am feeling more supported as a parent than I ever have and that counts for a lot as I continue to try to parent Matthew as he enters the world of puberty which leads to its own struggles and challenges.
- I am a single mom of three amazing boys! All three of my sons entered my family through adoption. All three of my boys have developmental disabilities. My oldest son, Matthew has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. David, my middle son, has a genetic condition, he has a duplication on his 15th chromosome which leads to autism like symptoms, seizures and learning challenges. My youngest son, Jacob has learning disabilities. Each of my children bring unique challengs to our family and also bring their own personality and joys to our everyday life!