Our son has a learning disability. I don’t tell our story and struggles so that others think we’re perfect. I don’t share them to heap guilt on myself or on anyone reading this post. I simply want to share our story so you can understand where we’ve come from and the struggles we face with our son, who has a learning disability.
The older that I get, the more I value transparency in others and in myself. I don’t want to make our story seem perfect, because it’s not. Life is too short to maintain fake relationships and pretending to be something we’re not. How can one be intentional in something fake?!
In sharing our story, we’ll head back to the year 2008. My husband and I had been married for 2 years and were expecting our first bundle of joy in September 2008. My water broke a month earlier, so in August we welcomed a sweet baby boy into our arms. He was such a good baby. He slept through the night, loved naps, ate almost anything, and was so happy. He was also a little on the strong-willed and stubborn side. If I’m honest, he resembles my personality a lot.
He has a generous and caring heart. As he grew older, we began to notice that he had horrible balance. A wall (that has been there for years and has never moved) could be in his path, but instead of going around it, he would run into it. We jokingly called him a bull in a china shop. He never meant to make these incredible messes, but he did. My son would fall off the stage steps, run into things, and so much more. Chalking it up to him being a boy and figured I had my work cut out for me.
This boy would climb any and everything. He wasn’t really scared of much. In fact, many times I had to make him scared so he would see the danger in certain things. He had a hard time walking a straight line, too. He would run really fast but usually fall. Can you believe this child has never broken anything on his body? Not one thing. His sister who believes in safety first has, though.
He has always had trouble with spelling things backwards. My teacher friends would just say “that’s typical for his age. He’ll grow out of it.” Being a music therapist, I knew that it was typical for his age, but something just told me there was more to it. He could draw and write words and shapes and numbers backwards beautifully. I almost hated to tell him it was flipped.
THE BIG SIGN OF A LEARNING DISABILITY
All of these were things I noticed through the years, but the biggest thing I saw was his listening skills were not the greatest. He struggled. It was difficult for me to discern whether he was full-out disobeying or if he truly hadn’t heard me. After I gave him instructions, he would say “I’m sorry Mommy. I didn’t hear you.” Considering he gave this response after asking him to do a task, I assumed he just was too busy playing to complete what I had asked. I guess I should also say that I was typically calling him from another room, since I was occupied with his sister. If we were in groups or loud places, it was a complete lost cause. I could yell his name as loud as I could and his head would never turn. He simply did not hear me.
I was convinced that I had caused hearing loss in my son. I couldn’t figure out any other reason he would have for saying “I didn’t hear you.” I called and made an appointment with the audiologist to check his hearing. I cried a lot because I felt guilty for his hearing, positive that I had listened to music too loud, since I am partially deaf in one ear as well.