Learning Disabilities — 5 Minutes for Special Needs

Learning Disabilities



It’s happening around here. Some of the counties near where we live have already returned to recess, brown bag lunch, and smiling teachers. We…start Monday.

Well, my daughter starts Monday. My friend’s children start Monday.

Jack. Not so much.

See, we qualified for Hospital Homebound (HH). Basically, this is a school within a school. It has its own principal, teachers, guidance counselors, etc. Three times a week a teacher comes to my house and hangs out with Jack. Speech therapy and Physical therapy will visit him at home as well. However, it’s under the confines of the MotherSchool, which is the elementary that we are zoned for. (You still following me?)

HH requires a doctor’s note, medical records, and an IEP–all of which we have. And by have, I mean, I have his IEP, but The MotherSchool hasn’t updated it since we moved and so, he technically has no IEP. After calls and emails and days of stress, HH called yesterday to tell me that they are ready, but we are waiting for MotherSchool to set up the IEP.

Wanna hear the kicker? Last night I got a call from Ms. Ruby, the bus driver. She wanted to know where to pick him up on Monday.

That’s when I almost lost my religion.

So, while everyone gets to go to school and have that first day of wonder, Jack gets to wait to see when they’ll do his IEP, and I get to worry that I’m going to get arrested for my truant kindergartner.

Who’s bailing me out?


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The Bubble Bursts…

Sometimes, I lose my words.

Like someone popped my beautiful bubble that I worked so hard to get right.

Or I feel like the sky is closing in on me.

Actually, I feel like I’m the kid with the black cloud that only rains on me.

(Pity party, table for 1?)

So many times, on this journey, I have these huge highs….that are followed by the lowest lows. I fight hard, I play hard, I love hard…and then I get kicked in the teeth.


YAY: the insurance approved the wheelchair!

BOO: they’re not sure when we can actually have it (4-12 weeks is the estimate).

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Too Much to Ask?

I had a meeting today with various members of our support team at school. I was trying to understand more about what is going on with the child’s writing, and basically learned nothing. “She’s doing fine. Yes, we acknowledge the struggle that writing, and indeed any expression of language is for her, but she’s meeting benchmarks, or close enough, so…”

So basically she hasn’t fallen far enough behind to warrant further…whatever the next step would be. We have to wait until she’s flailing. Flailing is bad for this child…(well for any child, but this one tends to respond with physical aggression)…Why is this so hard to understand and avoid?

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Bite-Sized Homework

We’ve had our ups and downs with homework this year. Most weeks the child’s homework is a sweet routine of math drills and spelling practice. Since she thrives on routine more than even she would care to admit, this has been overall very good. Most days she can do her homework with minimal mom input, which is a good thing. The challenge then becomes some of the more extraordinary projects that come in and dislodge the routine.

Every five weeks they do a review spelling week, so instead of practicing spelling words we do a writing assignment. Usually they are short and seemingly simple: tell a funny story, explain how you drew something, write a letter…Working through these writing assignments put our “new” challenges into clear perspective.

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Message for ALL Mom’s.. LOVE your kids, as if they were dying..

My day had started like any other, I was up at 5 packing lunches and backpacks, while trying to gulp down some coffee. I had an appointment at the office later, so I spent a few minutes standing in front of my closet perplexed and sighing. I looked in the mirror, briefly noting the major damage 40 plus years and nightly interrupted sleep can bring.  Finally, by 7 am, we were all dressed and ready, so we hit the road to drop Zoe’s big sister O, at her school first.

Later, it was just Zoe and I in the car. The sun was streaming through the car windows, the radio was on and I was trying to make Zoe laugh.. 

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Getting a Grip

I probably should know better than to write a post late at night when I’m barely still awake and most of my thoughts are trending toward a rather negative vein. However, if I procrastinate (again) I’ll be posting late (again) and I’m tired of that trend, too. Just be aware there will be no sugar-coating.

Yes, once again I am feeling rather stretched thin. Just considering what is going on with my kiddos leaves me pretty drained – forget the work I’m supposed to do, the things I want to pursue, and all the usual maintenance items.

The child outwardly is doing well.

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Holiday Carols Were Not Written for Us

I have to tell you, I am a huge sucker for holiday music. I love hearing it while I shop in the grocery and when I’m in the car. I dream of falling snow flakes and cozy fires. I actually know all the verses of many traditional hymns and get mad when artists don’t sing them!

Then, the other night (after a particularly difficult night with the boy child) I started to think about the words, and realized that no one thought of the Special Needs Family when they wrote Christmas music.

1. Silent Night–Right. Like that’s ever gonna happen!

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Treading Two Paths

I was so hoping this year to focus on building social scaffolding for the child at school. I’m dreaming of setting up a circle of friends who will know, understand, and advocate on her behalf as her differences become more apparent to her peers. I am just beginning the process of working out what that might look like, but there’s a distraction looming.

It’s becoming more clear that in addition to her oral language challenges, my daughter also struggles to express her thoughts in written form. In second grade the writing assignments have ramped up, both in school and out. She often cannot complete the same amount of work as her peers, and there are some pretty clear signs of dysgraphia.

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Waiting…. Waiting…. Waiting….

I don’t like waiting. Which is kind of ironic because I’m a mom, and a mom of multiple developmentally delayed kids.

For years we’ve been waiting with one of our daughters – waiting for meds to kick in, for her moods to stabilize, for her mind to find balance. At our meeting with the counselor at her residential facility today, we all saw her treatment there is only scratching the surface so far. These mood swings, PTSD behaviors from foster care, and internal walls will be there for a while. So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how not to get stuck in life’s waiting seasons.

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Dyslexia Awareness Month

October is Dyslexia awareness month. Did you know that Dyslexia can
manifest in different ways? My oldest daughter, who is 17, has
Dysgraphia…you only see the signs of dyslexia in her writing. When
she was younger; letters were backwards, her handwriting was very
difficult to read, and her spelling was VERY unconventional. My
youngest daughter, 7, is just in the early stages of testing for
dyslexia. She displays more of the classic signs of dylexia. She also
has the reversals in writing: letter, numbers, even entire words are
written backwards, but, her reading is also affected. She will often
begin sounding out a word from the ending sound.

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