When I arrive for Jacob’s session, I am expecting the worst, since Michelle has fallen into that pit of despair she can’t seem to climb out of. I am surprised and shocked when I am greeted by the old Michelle. Her grin is huge and infectious. Jacob’s report card came, and she waves it at me, almost shouting that he has all A’s and B’s. I breathe a sigh of relief. Somehow through this process with Jacob’s ups and down’s and Michelle’s mood swings, I have begun to second guess what I am doing, something that has never happened before.
I continue to work on 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 without a fuss. I stop and think, though. Fussing is good. It is normal. Jacob didn’t fuss about much when we first started with his weekly sessions.
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 and is much more focused. He talks about friends at school, which is also a big improvement, as his social skills were definitely lacking before we started treatment. Of course they were! Auditory processing disorders make it very difficult to communicate with others. 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 in every aspect. His “fog” is lifting and I hope this is the last time he goes through a setback. Not for me, but for Michelle. She takes it so hard.
I know this affects me more because I also spend more time with Michelle than I do with most parents. I am privy to more of their family’s “wear and tear” due to Jacob’s dyslexia. Michelle is so involved with his academic improvement that she often shoves her younger son aside, as he is progressing normally. However, Joshua still needs some attention and often acts up. 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 with 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. Like most moms who work and have a child with a learning disability, she is spread thin. She confides that her marriage has suffered, as she is totally engrossed in Jacob’s academic and life success. Some days, it’s all she can do to hold it all together.
I’ve been there with my own son, my own family, my own divorce, my own work schedule. All I can do is sympathize. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. There always is. It’s just that sometimes you can’t see it even if it’s shining brightly right at you. It is easy to forget where Jacob came from a little over a year ago. That happens a lot when students make progress. They’re still behind, but parents can’t remember how far they’ve come. Thankfully, I feel that our time together is coming to a close. I’m not thankful to be done with Jacob or his family. Just thankful that another child has a shot at an ordinary life.