Hind sight is a wonderful thing. It can be a horrible thing, too, as I have been finding out lately as well. More on that toward the end of this post though. On to the main point of this post.
Looking back at any number of things, regarding how our oldest learns has been frustrating. We've/I've seen things that should have investigated, sought out help, and push harder to get services. There have been a number of things that he was slow on, but always just thought it was a boy thing. He was slower on sitting, standing, walking, potty training for example. Most of these, I figured if the average child gets it 12 months (for whatever) and there are some that get it at 9 months, then 15 months shouldn't be to bad because the 12 is an average. Right?
By the summer before Kindergarten, Thing One had been in speech for a year and a half, was shaky writing, and really didn't want to sit and color. The last two I attributed to being a boy. The girls in his pre-school seemed to already enjoy the curly~cue name thing and a bulk of the boys could have cared less. The writing became more pronounced in K and 1 as his public school teacher mentioned things about it and asked if assignments could be sent home to finish. I wasn't to concerned, but began wondering if home schooling wouldn't be a better option. The class sizes seemed huge at that level, with no obvious signs of getting smaller.
During the summer of 2007, we made the decision to bring him home. We figured that you really don't need to be a rocket scientist or have an educational degree to teach your own child. We felt that we should have a strong desire to find the best curriculum to suit our child and to create an environment where he'd want to learn and investigate. Probably the worst thing we did then was to Google "home school curriculum"! D'oh, there were about 10,000 pages of choices. Looking back, it seems we blindly choose a "big box" company and said "send us all we need for this grade".
It was during second grade that the glitches seemed to be more pronounced. Writing was becoming painfully slow. Spelling was very difficult. Reading comprehension wasn't there (even remembering the title of a passage read was difficult). Timed multiplication drills, even though reviewed often, were like some ancient torture treatment. During the beginning of third grade, with a set of test scores in hand, I sought help from our elementary school for testing. I was told that based off the test scores presented, he was doing just fine and they wouldn't test for learning disabilities.
Over the course of third, fourth, and most of fifth grade, we swapped curriculum around, gave up on "drill and kill" memorization and did what we thought best. Some friends, who are further along on the home schooling trek, highly recommended contacting Learning Enhancement Centers and Dr. Davis. When I showed Thing One's test scores for, then, second through fifth, we were told that there was most definitely something going on and they were fairly certain they could help. If you read yesterday's post, they you may remember the findings from both offices. We're now trying to take the testing to the next level to uncover more glitches, labels, and whatever else there is to know. What we do know is that he hasn't had any seizures (found through an EEG) and there are no known disablities that can be determine through markers in his blood. So approximately a year later, we're still learning more about how this child ticks and learns. We are very thankful for the help we've gotten and folks that don't think we're nuts for seeing the glitches.
How hindsight can be a horrible thing. It is so very easy to get into the "what if . . . . ?" game, beating yourself up because you didn't push hard enough or getting the right help. It's a big black hole of despair that does not need to be gotten into. Fortunately, we have friends who are there to remind us of the good in our child, that we are getting good help now, and there is time to catch up. When I see others struggling with their own child, I try to be of encouragement to them to. That black hole can be hard to get out and having a friend come beside you, to carry the load, is a huge blessing. I want to be that for not only my own family, but those who are just trying to navigate that road.