Super Mom-dom–Raising a Learning Disabled Child

My first few blogs were intended to give a brief recount of the past to bring readers up to date about me.  I am still learning to blog, and I found it difficult to start at the actual day of my first blog.  So, I went back in time to explain why I am where I am today.  I raised two daughters who are adults and thriving.  I have a toddler son who has global developmental delay and PDD-NOS, both considered to be on the autism spectrum.  He is three with the behaviors of an almost two year old.  We had a check-up for him yesterday where the doctor gave me discouraging news.  I try not to take it personally.  It’s her job to tell me the worst so we (my son’s father and I) can prepare and provide the best we can.  My son is currently enrolled in every early learning development program available to us through our state.  He receives multiple therapies and instructional learning several days a week.  However, it’s truly a mind-numbing and patience practicing experience to raise a learning disabled child.  I’ve had to learn how to be more patient and slow down my expectations of him.  It’s not as awful as it sounds.  In fact, it’s quite beneficial to the both of us.  He’s unable to talk, but uses actions to let me know when he’s thirsty, hurt, tired, or needs a diaper change.  Before having my son, my philosophy about diaper changing was only for people two years old and younger.  Training my son has trashed that belief.  My son wouldn’t come near his potty seat.  He doesn’t like going to the bathroom with his father.  Therefore, I had to combine two activities.  I used his potty seat as a sitting place at his table.  He felt comfortable sitting on it at the table rather than stand alone.  Now, I have to figure out how we’re going to practice getting his pants down, and then diaper off.  This is a big difference from when I raised my girls.  They were easy to train because they could speak, listen and comprehend.  My oldest daughter practically potty trained my younger daughter.  My son doesn’t have siblings or playmates his age to learn skills from. Kids learn from one another better.  I saw that with my daughters.  But, since I don’t have access to other kids at the moment, my son has to learn from me, which means I have to go down to his level, not try and forcefully bring him up to my level.  Over the years with my son, I’ve gotten plenty of unsolicited advice, mostly from grandmothers with old wives tales.  “Don’t give him anything else but vegetables.  He’ll eat them when he’s hungry.”  “You do too much for him.  He should be able to do that by now.”  “Stop carrying him around and he’ll walk.”  “Mothers nowadays give in to kids too much, making them spoiled.”  There’s plenty more, but I’ll stop there.  None of these comments are true when it comes to my son.  His will to hold out is longer than mine.  I’m not going to starve him when he is willing to starve himself.  He’s never been like regular children who have to put everything in their mouths.  He is very picky about what he puts in his mouth.  It has to pass his sight, touch and smell examinations.  Just about anything on a spoon is automatically rejected.  He doesn’t eat candy because it gets sticky.  His lack of eating is becoming a bigger problem as he gets older.  He’s falling behind on the growth scale, something I anticipated months ago and reported to his physicians.

I was very young when I had my daughters.  I thought that raising them to become independent, intelligent, and careful was the epitome of parenthood.  I tried my best to make sure they didn’t replicate the mistakes I did, which was basically not giving myself a chance to live life before accepting someone else’s type of love to sustain me.  They have made me proud, but most of all, they are happy and successful.  I’m taking a small amount of credit for that.  It wasn’t easy by any means, and there were a lot of obstacles in their childhoods.  (“18 Years of Grace and Mercy: A Teenage Mother’s Testimony, Vol.1  Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, http://www.TamikaTrammel.com)  However, in myself I failed a lot, but in my daughters I succeeded.  I thought I was the greatest mother on Earth, and had parenthood by the short and curlies. But now…

This journey, of raising a learning disabled child is what I call the golden ticket into “Super Mom-dom” (or “Super Dad-dom”, think “kingdom” but in the realm of parenthood).  I feel like I am getting to know my son rather than him getting to know me or the surrounding world.  Every day is a learning experience.  Not just for him, but for me too.

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