20 November 2014

A Nonverbal Learning Disability and What It Means For Our Family

If you've been reading my blog for a while then you may have noticed that these past 9 months or so it has just basically limped along.  In fact, I even took a lengthy break for part of that time.

And that was nice.

I hesitate to say I was feeling "burnout".  But I guess maybe that was it in a way.  My husband likes to say that burnout doesn't happen because you have too many things going on, but instead it happens when you are not feeling fulfilled in all of the things you are doing.  And I think there's much truth in that.

It's easy to keep going full-steam-ahead when you're pumped about how things are going.  But when you feel like every day is sucking the life out of you it's a little harder.

Last winter we began the process of having our 9-yr-old son, Mr. B, tested for what we thought might be ADHD.  It seemed like it took forever.  In reality it took about 6 months.  So, yeah ....forever.

At least it feels like forever when you're dealing with near-daily meltdowns, dissolving into tears way more often that you'd like to admit, and just trying to survive some days.

As it turned out, our son does not have ADHD.  At least not in the full sense of that diagnosis.  He has been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) with a Nonverbal Learning Disability (NLD)--with features of both ADHD and Asperger's Disorder.  And he is on the Autism spectrum.

That was definitely not what I was expecting.  A learning disability.  That he will have forever.  That he must learn to cope with for the rest of his life.

That we, as a family, must learn to handle properly.  Successfully.

So these past few months have been filled with lots of reading on my behalf.  Lots of heart-to-hearts with my hubby.  And even more struggles with my son.

I love him so much.

And he is such an awesome kid.  He's incredibly creative and smart and funny.

It's just that often that awesomeness gets overwhelmed by his impulsiveness, his impatience...  Others often only see how he struggles socially--with being a team player, with sharing, with understanding how others feel...

I am also learning how to talk with other moms about it.  That's not always easy and lots of times they just look at me with that deer-in-the-headlights look.  But mostly they are sympathetic and understanding.  And here and there I meet a mom who really gets it because she has a kiddo who has special challenges as well.

And that is a sweet moment of grace when it happens.

I don't know how much I'll talk about this here, but as I learn more and process it more I'm sure it will come up.  I don't feel that total burnout feeling anymore, but it's a whole new learning curve for me (for all of us!).  But we are meeting the challenge, learning new normals for our family, learning new techniques for homeschooling ....just learning constantly!  I sort of feel like a student again myself these days.

Anyway, I just wanted to share a little about it here.  Thanks for listening.


afistfullofweeds* said...

Bless you and your family!! You have just described the story of mine and my sons life!!

Kathy said...

Lora, I just want to thank you for being vulnerable enough to share this with all of us. I will be praying as you adjust to these new challenges. I'm sure in some ways you feel relief at finally putting a finger on just what is going on and now you can be a student of your son in learning ways to work with him. I think the beauty of homeschooling is tailoring your day to work with his needs specifically. You are an incredible Mom!!! Many blessings!

Lora @ my blessed life said...

Thank you so much for your comment! Most days I feel like a mom-fail, but this is a whole new journey we're on and I'm determined that my son will succeed! Thank you for your prayers~they are SO appreciated!

Anonymous said...

I happened upon your blog and read this post. Our grandson, 10, is on the Spectrum, too. I have found support through my local Autism Society chapter. We share, laugh, cry and are there for each other. If I may suggest, I would urge you to reach out to other people who understand and are in a similar journey. God Bless, Ramona