Jacob Days 41-45
The first time that I arrive for Jacob’s session on day 41, I am expecting the worst. Not as far as Jacob goes. I know that he and I will be okay. It’s his mom I’m worried about. She is so emotionally linked to this kid that it’s hard for her to separate her feelings and fears from his.
Surprisingly, I am greeted by the old Michelle, the one I first met. The one who was confident, charming, and sure of herself. Her grin is huge and infectious. She shoves a paper at me. Jacob’s report card came, and he has all A’s and B’s. She is bursting with pride…an actual peacock with the biggest feathers I’ve ever seen! I breathe a sigh of relief. Somehow through this process, I have begun to second guess what I am doing, something that has never happened before.
We make small chit-chat. Michelle is easy to talk to and fun. Since Jacob’s report card is so good, she’s like a Cheshire cat combined with that peacock. Maybe we are about done. Maybe these ups and downs are over.
They aren’t, but thank goodness I didn’t know it on that euphoric day.
I continue to work with Jacob’s auditory processing and math skills. He is plugging along now. He seems to have made a breakthrough, which is a relief. He is more like his old self, but still doesn’t want to perform any auditory or brain activities. He kicks up an initial fuss, but with persuasion, he agrees to plod through the activities.
Jacob has grown a lot. He is taller and more filled out. He seems different in so many ways. He isn’t as silly as he was when we first started and is much more focused. He talks about friends at school, which is also a big improvement. Michelle has always been concerned about how sensitive Jacob is and how the other boys pick on him. He has maintained a relationship with one friend from his old school, but has always struggled with social skills. He speaks of play dates with his new friends and is confident. His “fog” is lifting and I hope this is the last time he goes through this.
At first, Jacob seemed like a quick fix, because he made so much progress so quickly, but he has had more ups and downs than any student I have worked with. I am getting exhausted with all of the ups and downs. We are definitely on a roller coaster ride. And I hate roller coasters! His academic growth comes in huge spurts, which is exciting. But when he falls apart, it is worse than any student I have ever worked with. Like his mom, his highs are the best, his lows, the worst.
I know this affects me more than with other students, because I also spend more time with Michelle than I do with most parents. I am privy to the family’s wear and tear that Jacob has caused. Michelle is so involved with Jacob’s academic delay that she often shoves her younger son aside, since he is progressing normally. However, Joshua still needs some attention and often acts up…and not in a positive way. He wants his fair share of attention, and he deserves it. Siblings of students with learning differences are often virtually ignored, which to them is a punishment, just for performing adequately academically. It happens all too often.
Some days this is more than Michelle can take. She has had to call her husband home from work more than once to help take the burden off of her, and her own work has suffered due to the time she has spent helping Jacob. She is lucky to be self-employed, but she feels like she is just going through the motions and not giving work her full attention.
But, let’s get back on that roller coaster. Jacob had A’s and B’s at a traditional school. That’s a thrill! I have a feeling he’ll dip again. That isn’t the problem. The problem is whether Michelle can ride out the roller coaster until it stops.