Against All Odds
by Sharel E. Gordon-Love
One of the worst fears a mother can have is accepting the possibility that something is wrong with her child. My son was born under normal circumstances, cooed at the normal baby age, and walked by the time he was a year old. After these normal things occurred, he just didn't seem to want to talk too much. I was told that boys are lazy and that I shouldn't jump to conclusions, so I waited before I tried to find out what the problem was. Then when he was potty trained by two and still not saying much, I began to worry. Especially since different relatives would make the usual comments about how cute he is and the fact that he understood whatever you told him to do. He just wouldn't talk.
By the time my son was old enough to attend pre-school, he was unable to use sentences with more than five words. Upon the insistence of a young lady who attended the same church, and who also headed up the Special Needs department at the local Head Start, I placed my son in school. He learned how to interact with children his age, but his vocabulary did not increase very much at all.
Through the Special Needs department at the school, my son was taken from one specialist to another to be evaluated and finally 'classified' as being neurologically impaired. They wanted him to take the medication Ritilin for hyper children, but I refused. Some doctors even claimed he would never talk any more than he already did, and a few of them said he was retarded. Feeling defeated, I was ready to accept their findings and give up believing that all that could be done for my son had been done. The young lady who headed the department told me not to believe or receive what the doctors were saying, but to trust God. I tried, but all I could go by was what I saw with my eyes.
Finally one day my son was referred to a ear, nose throat specialist as a last resort. I didn't believe that it mattered one way or another. But this was the day of the beginning of the rest of my son's life. The doctor found that fluid had built up behind my son's ear drums, preventing him from hearing clearly, therefore he spoke the way he heard. Muffled, as if his head was under water. Surgery was performed to place tubes behind his ear drums to drain the fluid, and his vocabulary began to increase in leaps and bounds.
Progress in my son's learning abilities grew, but he was yet years behind as far as his age level was concerned. His motor skills were not very good either. He had to repeat kindergarten and was placed in a school for special education children. After repeating kindergarten, he was placed in a class with children who did repetitious 'ditto' sheets day in and day out which frustrated him very much. He'd asked his teacher to teach him how to read, but she said that was not the curriculum for that particular class.
When the school year ended, my son was transferred to another school that specialized in learning disabilities. The summer leading up to him attending this school, my brothers and sister and myself taught him how to spell whatever words he'd ask us. All summer he would read the signs we passed and read whatever words he could find. On the first day of school, my son went into his class, picked a book from the shelf, opened it and read it aloud! His teacher called me to tell me that he changed the curriculum for a class that reading was definitely not a part of. She couldn't hold him back and decided that she'd better teach the whole class.
Since our family moved by the time my son was 13, the schools in that district was not like the one he'd attended. Making adjustments for him was not hard and he continued to improve, but still not being able to learn on his age level. Another move took us to yet another school district that continued to help my son to progress steadily, teaching him about job skills that he will need for life. He has been on honor roll, super honor roll, and has received certificates and a medal for perfect attendance.
By the time my son became a senior in high school, his classes were mainstreamed and he was learning on his age level.
Finally today, my son is a freshman at the local community technical college, and holds down a part time job. Against all odds, God has blessed us in that He caused my son to triumph and get the victory to live a normal life in this society.