From A Mother’s Heart: Worrying Changes Nothing?

Inspirational stories from mothers parenting children with learning challenges.

Boy sensory ball2Everyone will tell you that you can’t change anything by worrying.

I beg to differ.

Mothers who worry will work over a problem until they come up with a path of action that eases their anxiety. I have worried about all four of my children at different times. Ultimately it has helped me. Two of my children have faced far greater challenges than I would have wished for them, but how they responded to these challenges has defined them.

All my children were excessively active and easily bored, so at first I only worried that Christian was almost three years old and still not talking very much. My pediatrician said that it might be because he was the youngest of four and his older siblings were anticipating and interpreting for him so he didn’t need much language and so had not bothered to learn.

Nevertheless he sent me for a consult with a developmental specialist, Tim Healey. Tim tested Christian and diagnosed auditory processing delay and sensory integration problems. He suggested a program of occupational and speech therapy. I was happy to have something to do to help him.

Tim suggested JoQueta Handy as his speech therapist, which I now see as divine intervention.

Over the years, JoQueta guided Christian through one milestone after another, always positive he would be successful and always seeing the best in him. Daily life could sometimes be challenging, but JoQueta showed me how hard he was trying. When he was fidgeting, he wasn’t being naughty, he was just trying to make his brain concentrate.

His auditory processing difficulties made listening exhausting, so no wonder he didn’t want to sit in circle time at preschool. JoQueta was always looking for solutions, whether it was changing nutrition, using the latest computer assisted learning tool, seeking specialist help or school IEP planning. We always focused on his strengths as a way to help with weaknesses. Christian loved drawing, so he would work hard at his PACE program and then take a break by drawing for a few minutes. He was affectionate and engaging, which helped a lot with teachers on the brink of exasperation.

When I was pregnant I prayed for a healthy child, and I got one. No matter what challenges we faced with Christian we were always grateful that he was healthy. As far as his education and development, we learned to let go of our preconceived notions and love the child we had been given. Gradually we stopped worrying and started celebrating his achievements. Where we once worried that he would never talk, learn to read or live a so called normal life.

Today he is a successful eighth grader, an honor roll student in mainstream classes. He competes for a swim team and plays water polo with a local club. His teachers admire his knowledge of American history, his leadership skills and his concern for other kids who are struggling for one reason or another. He is still working hard to bring up his math skills and navigate the teen social scene, but everyone has something to work on. Perhaps we needn’t have worried, but it did help us find the right path. We learned that addressing our concerns with a plan of action, helped Christian and made us worry less.