Friday, September 27, 2013

Caring For My Son With Special Needs {part two}

"Hope Develops in the crucible of experience if the right ingredients are present. Those ingredients include the following: Faith in God; righteous living; positive expectations; living with purpose; setting and working toward goals; initiating and sustaining personal effort; bridling thoughts, emotions, and behaviors; a willingness to tackle challenges; and competence in creating healthy relationships." Vaughn E Worthen

I could pretend like I was at a complete loss as to how to help my son and our family find peace, but the truth is that in the quiet corners of my mind there had always been a whisper that James needed to be home schooled. A thought that, to be completely honest, scared the crap out of me. So I continued to push those thoughts back into the deepest darkest corners every time they surfaced. I rationalized by telling myself that I couldn't handle it, and that only weird people home schooled their kids. I mean, who would actually choose to do that!

It turns out, I would. Sitting on the couch next to my 8 year old son while he sobbed about his horrible day at school, reminded me of my resolve all those years ago to do whatever it took for him to be OK.

Knowing what to do though and actually doing it are two completely different things, and I was still very scared! After having spent many a day simply dealing with him instead of enjoying being his mother, I was not sure at all if I had what it took to be with him not only all day long, but to teach him as well. And it was during one of those moments of how am I going to be able to do this, that another whispering thought came to mind. "How would you treat him if he had special needs?"

When I was really little in elementary school I used to love playing on the slide with the down syndrome kids at our school. They would come down with the biggest smile on their face and expect a hug from whoever was at the bottom waiting to catch them. You cannot be with one of those children and not feel love and warmth and it always made me so happy. I smiled thinking about the memory and in  a fraction of a second my attitude had changed.

I don't know if I can accurately describe what I felt in that moment, but it was like my heart had been transformed. I looked at him for the first time with new eyes and I no longer saw a problem to be dealt with or solved. I saw my sweet little boy who had special needs. Needs that were special and unique to only him, because he is special and unique. No other person in this world will ever think, feel, or act, the exact same way that he does. That understanding was the missing link for me.

Once I understood the how of how can I possibly do this, we got started the very next day. And approaching the task of teaching my son with the same tenderness and love I felt for those sweet kids on the playground has allowed me to open a door of patience that I never new existed. And although I know it will take time and possibly outside help from counselors to unravel exactly what all of his needs are, I am hopeful that he is on his way to a much happier and healthy life.

In less than two weeks he has already made strides in his reading that we expected to take months, he is more willing to help around the house when asked, has increased in self confidence, has shown concern for other's feelings, and has a hint of that sparkle back in his eye that has been missing for so long. And, not to brag, (OK maybe a little) he told me just yesterday that I am the best teacher ever!


Natalie said...

This is awesome Sally. You're so brave for doing this and following your impression as a mom. I hope everything keeps going great!

Krista Johnson said...

Sally! I am so excited for you. Ken is a product of a mother following exactly the same impression. She just went to the school one day and pulled him out asked him how he would feel about being home schooled and he said yes so they went home and it was the best year of school of his life. He ended up going back the following year but he always dreaded going to school every single day. Anyway, I had no idea that you were doing that but I am excited to hear how it goes. I am one of those "weird" parents who has been considering doing homeschooling. Good luck!

Seth and Julie said...

Good for you for following your instincts as a mother. I also never thought I would homeschool but when I felt like it was the right thing to do with my middle schooler, I decided to follow as well. I think it would be harder with a younger child and an energy filled one. I will probably do middle school at home with all of my kids and I am already nervous about how that will go with Alex. He just isn't the sit down and get it done type but if it is right then I will trust that there is a way to be successful at it. We live in such a great time because there are so many homeschooling resources so you don't have to reinvent the wheel every day. Are you doing an e-schooling program, or what curriculum are you using? Good luck and I hope you both have an awesome experience.

Anonymous said...

Good for you and good luck! I'm interested to hear more about what program you use and how it goes#

Anonymous said...

I told you that you were a great mother.

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