It’s the end of another school year. This one ended in promise rather than panic for the first time since my youngest started school. God has blessed me with the ability to see my daughter learn and grow in leaps and bounds this year. He has provided answers, He has provided money, and He has provided people. The glory is His alone! SDG
Since she was three, Taylor has perplexed us and her teachers with her ability to achieve well above average on a test, yet struggle so much in the day to day. In fact, most of her teachers thought me crazy when I mentioned something out of the norm with her.
I’ve been asked things like, “Are you sure you just aren’t overly sensitive because your an educator?”
As if any mother WANTS their kid to have a problem. But here’s the thing, because I was an educator, I knew there was a problem. (To read Taylor’s story from the beginning click here.)
Over the years we learned that what we thought to be ADD was really a sensory processing issue that kept her distracted. Taylor struggles with both auditory and visual processing disorders. These have been recently discovered in second and third grade. To read the second part of her story that includes the discovery of these issues click here.)
The Here, Now, and 2E
Here we are at the end of third grade, and while our journey is not over, it finally has answers. We have spent most the year in vision therapy. It cost us almost every Saturday of the school year as we drove to Los Angeles and back, not to mention the extra homework she had every night. BUT it was worth it.
What we have discovered about our daughter makes me all the more grateful that I fought for her. I didn’t take no as an answer. Many prayers were said, lots of money has been spent, but here were are with a 2E child.
What’s 2E? 2E is “Twice Exceptional”. It’s a label for kids who are both gifted and learning disabled.
Taylor started the year as a LD student, but third grade brings testing for the gifted program to which she qualified with even higher scores than her older sister. Most, including educators, have never heard of 2E. These kids often fall through the cracks. Either their intellect compensates for their struggles as was Taylor’s case, or their learning disabilities skew their intelligence scores. Sometimes it’s possible that the two even each other out completely. It is very rare to have a proper fit for these children within our current educational structure. I was shocked when I found a school district in another state that has an entire program centered around it with some resources. Click here to be taken to their site.
Regardless of a label, we have answers. And, we understand why this has been so difficult to figure out. This whole journey has felt like a desert wandering. There was start point but no end point. There was no map. There were very few who could help. There were fewer still that were willing to help. But for all of it, I say thank you Jesus for leading the way. This has been one of the largest trust walks of my life, and not only has my faith grown through it, so has Taylor’s.
Why I Share
I am a public school educator in the state of California. Everything I thought I knew about our system regarding kids with struggles went out the window as soon as I had a child that the system couldn’t service. Even knowing the system and many people within it, the system couldn’t and still can’t do much to help her (and I don’t want them to, let’s leave that to the professionals).
I share because I’m one of the few moms who has fought for their kids, put the puzzle together, and has seen a complete turn around in their child.
We started the year in tears. Taylor hated to read and hated even more to write. It would take hours just to copy something with many melt downs in the process. When reading, she’d guess as much as she could and begged us to read for her, so she could just listen. After the first week of school this year, I looked at my husband and said, “I have to do something. I have to know I’ve tried everything. I can see the writing on the wall, she’s not going to graduate from high school if nothing changes.”
Fast forward to the end of the year. Not more than three nights ago Taylor handed me a paper from school and asked, “Mom, can I do Battle of the Books next year?” (It’s a competition that tests students’ knowledge of 30 novels, that they have the summer and school year to read.) To which I replied, “Are you sure? You do realize you have to read novels, not picture books and they are thick!” She looked me straight in the eye and said, “I know! I want to do it.” Not many mothers get to experience such a tremendous sense of relief and excitement all in the same moment.
How Did We Get Here?
First of all we prayed. We believe in a loving Heavenly Father who created this Earth and everything in it. We believe He has a plan for each of us and that His plan is perfect. So, we prayed for wisdom and for answers. We thanked God for the victories and the set backs, and the glory from this journey is all His. Even Taylor herself will attest to how God has moved in her life.
Other than that…
- I fought. I started with an independent educational therapist and got his opinion of where Taylor was at in Kindergarten. At the point of testing, he said he thought she had both a visual and auditory issue, but he was not qualified diagnose those. In the end, it took testing by very hard to find specialists and thousands of dollars to figure it out. And I can tell you story after story of how God provided not only money but classroom resources for Taylor to take this journey.
- I worked with her. Our current education system requires a child to be 2 years behind before resources are provided for most students that haven’t been diagnosed outside the system. I refused to let her fall behind, so we spent most summers playing catch up and getting ahead.
- I educated myself. I can’t tell you how many books on ADD/ADHD, auditory processing, and visual processing I’ve read. That doesn’t make me an expert, but what it did was let me know if what I was seeing from my child was consistent with what the experts said. If I felt it was, then the money for the testing was worth it. If I didn’t feel like there was a match, the cost of a few books was a lot less than most tests.
- I’ve never stopped, and I’m still not done. Now that we have answers, we still have much work to do to get her processing skills up. Therapy has helped immensely, and although we would hope for it to be a “one and done” scenario, my gut says that she will deal with these issues for the rest of her life.
Encouragement for All Moms
Maybe you are in the middle of trying to figure out whether or not your child has a learning issue of some kind. If so, my first advice is to pray. Or, maybe your concerns for your child have nothing to do with learning disabilities. My advice is still the same, pray! God should be the first One we talk to about our kids. After all, He created them, has a perfect plan for them, and loves them even more than we do. Ask for wisdom, discernment, and answers. Ask for people to be put in your path that will lead you down the right road. And, trust that His plan is the perfect plan for their life, even when it looks different than yours.
Then share your journey, please! There are many who are in the middle of a similar journey as you. The problem is that no one wants to share because of the fear of labels or judgement. To that I say, no one’s kids are perfect even those without learning issues. As moms we need to stop pretending like we’ve all got this parenting thing figured out, and start encouraging each other through humility and vulnerability.
Do you have a child with learning issues or know someone who does? What have your experiences been? I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below and share this with anyone who you know who could use some hope in this area.