The first time that I arrive for Jacob’s session, I am expecting the worst, but I am greeted by the old Michelle. Her grin is huge and infectious. Jacob’s report card came, and he has all A’s and B’s. 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.
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.
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, since he suffered from social skills problems before. 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.
Jacob seemed like a quick fix at first because he made so much progress so quickly, but he has had more ups and downs than any student I have ever worked with. I am getting exhausted as well with all of the ups and downs. His academic growth comes in huge spurts, but when he falls apart, it is worse than any student I have ever worked with.
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 that Jacob has caused. 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 working 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 mothers of children with learning disabilities, she feels pulled in a million directions. I remember that feeling all too well.
My own son took so much out of me, out of our family, that I can empathize with what Michelle is going through. But, I keep telling her that Nathan is fine. Nathan is an honor roll student. Worrying only makes it worse. She doesn’t seem to buy into it, but she still holds onto the progress he has made…the hope that he will in essence be fixed.
It is easy to forget where Jacob came from a little over a year ago. He could barely function, and now Michelle and I are both getting caught up in small details that still aren’t finished. I know he will come out on the top end of his academic and life skills. I’m just not sure if his mom knows. We agree to take it one day at a time and to celebrate each victory.
There is an end in sight. I can feel it. I can know it. I leave the city, happy and sad at the same time. The process worked, will continue working. But, I’m going to miss this wonderful family. I’m going to miss Jacob.