by Laurie Detweiler
October is National Learning Disabilities Month. It is a time when our focus is shifted to education, specifically on raising awareness about learning disabilities and the achievements those with these differences have accomplished. I wish we called it Nation Learning Aspiration Month.
Not a week goes by that I am not asked by one of our customer service representatives to call a despondent mother who wants to pull her child out of a school because it seems that the teacher just doesn’t “get” him. The truth of the matter is that the teacher probably doesn’t. Many children end up in situations where not only are they misunderstood, but they are not encouraged to become the person that God created them to be.
The Psalms show us that God is the one who created each of our precious babies, in fact, He is the one who knit them together. God MADE each of your children exactly how He wanted them to be made.
“For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.” (Psalm 139:13-14 NKJV)
If you have a child that struggles, it not only causes heartache for the child, but also the parents. We all have dreams for our children. We want them to have it better than we did. But the reality is that may not be what our heavenly Father has planned.
If I were to list for you those who have gone before us who had some kind of disability, you might be surprised:
Leonardo da Vinci Thomas Edison Charles Schwab Hans Christian Anderson Nelson Rockefeller Gen. George Patton Agatha Christie John F. Kennedy Auguste Rodin Dustin Hoffman Albert Einstein Galileo Galilei Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Henry Winkler Walt Disney Winston Churchill Henry Ford Stephen Hawking Jules Verne Alexander Graham Bell Woodrow Wilson
All of the people in this list have had a huge impact on society. In fact, in some cases had they not been in the right place at the right time, you would be reading a different story in your history books.
Often times it was their parents who made a difference in their lives by believing that they could achieve something when everyone else tossed them to the side. Did you know that at the age of six Thomas Edison burned down his family barn? Have any of you had any experience with boys that have done things like this? Then at age eight, his mother actually removed him from school. The schoolmaster believed that he was incredibly stupid and intractable. I am certainly glad that I am not that schoolmaster and so grateful that his mother had the courage of her conviction to remove him from the situation.
We live in an age where one size fits all. If your child doesn’t quite fit in, suddenly they have a problem. Learning disabilities or disorders are just a label on the way God wired your child. If I say that my child has a small frame no one thinks anything about it. But, if I say they have a large frame, depending on your perspective, this might be seen as offensive. The same is true of labels attached to learning disabilities or disorders. If I tell a stranger that my child has dysgraphia, they may suddenly get frightened wondering if this is some disease their child might catch. But to someone who understands, this helps them know how to relate to your child. It lets the Sunday school teacher know not to have your eight year old come up to the board and write out an answer, but to answer orally.
When I talk to a parent who shares with me that their child has Aspergers, a form of autism, I get so excited. You see, these children are THRIVING in our online classes. The classes work for them because the computer takes out some of the social aspect of the classroom for that child. (It doesn’t for all kids, but for these kids it allows a buffer.) When I hear that my child has Aspergers, what I think is “unlocked potential.” I believe these kids have the chance to change the world—maybe more than any others.
And heaven forbid I say my child has ADHD. An outsider might think, “Well you didn’t have to tell me that.” Parents with kids that have ADHD fear that outsiders will question their parenting ability. And many times they probably do. But I’m telling you to hold your head up high. You are not a terrible parent. God chose you to parent a child that was going to require more than most people could handle. He knew with His help and dependence on Him that you could handle it. But, how you handle it is your choice.
Let’s go back to Thomas Edison. You see, his mom got it. When she took young Thomas out of school, she did not do it to make his—or her—life easier. She did it to push him to his full potential. She realized he was not going to learn in the classroom and she took it upon herself to push it. And push it she did. She gave Thomas materials that were way beyond his years and guess what he did with them.
Too many times these children end up not getting what they need. It might be because of the enormous amount of effort it takes to teach them or because of processing issues or because you can’t keep their attention long enough to teach them something. If you decide to educate your precious child, know that it is going to take a herculean effort. But an effort that will have rewards way beyond what you can imagine.
Fast forward to your child as an adult, are they going to call you all the time? When they invent something or maybe become president of the United States, are they going to credit you and our heavenly Father for not ever giving up on them? I hope so. Don’t despair; rejoice. I’ll be real, I know there will be days when you shut yourself in the bathroom and weep because you just can’t face anyone. Do not be discouraged! Hold your head up high: your neighbor wasn’t given this gift. You were. Remember this is your precious baby.
For further information and help for learning issues please call Veritas Press at 800-922-5082 and somebody will be glad to assist you. We also recommend http://nild.org National Institute for Learning Development.
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