Wednesday, July 11, 2012
I was looking into my options for this coming school year. Even though I toyed with sending the bigs to private school, I am pretty sure I truly never meant it. Not for this year anyway. They are still at the age that this is easy. For the most part.
Then it came down to deciding what to do with Liam. For those that don't know, Liam has cerebral palsy, very mild, but still very much there. There is not a thing in the world wrong with the way he thinks, in fact, he's probably my smartest child. It's the finest motor skills we have trouble with. Like eating with a fork, holding a pencil right, not curling up your hands when you walk, picking tiny things up off the floor, holding a paint brush... Things like that. It's hard work folks. I was more than tempted to put him in school. Special ed, with someone that actually knows what they are doing. I had even sort of looked into schools. I found nothing I am thrilled with. Instead of embracing homeschooling him, I panicked. I am just his mother, what do I know about fine tuning the skills he needs, breaking them down into easy steps so my boy can learn them? Silly, I know. Minor CP isn't that huge of a deal. He's walking, talking, feeding himself (although a bit messy ;)), cleaning himself, and do most everything a normal 4 year old does... It's just that he is so hard to teach. Once it clicks, he's got it, it's just getting there. How in the world am I going to teach him? He doesn't learn like the others. He has to be taught every single step along the way. Not just a few steps, ALL of them... Just like holding his rattle as a baby, learning to sit, learning to get on his knees, crawling (I had to sit on the floor and move his arms and legs. it took many days and many many hours), how to pull up to stand, how to stand... how to take steps. How to bring food to his mouth. I had to show him every single thing, step by step. I SHOWED him every single step. Not some special ed teacher....
I'm HIS mother! It clicked. No one loves this boy more than I do (except for God of course). No one knows him, not like I do. I know better than anyone else if he needs to be pushed more, or if we've pushed too much. I know him!
I made a promise to him when he was fighting to his life, if he could just hang on, I'd do whatever it took to help him live a normal happy life. I promised not to give up on him and take the easy way out. He picked me, I owe it to him to at least give this a try. I can always get someone to come help if it's needed. He belongs at home with the rest of the circus. They are all on board to help as much as they can.
I just don't want someone giving him a label, making him think he is less of a person because of it.. Yes, he has CP, it is what it is. That doesn't for one second mean he can't have a shot at a normal life. I don't want him to give up on himself just because it's too hard. I've gotten a bit strict with him holding his fork like a shovel, and he will stay "I can't do it mama, it's too hard!!" I have to calmly remind him "Yes you can Liam!! You can do anything you set your mind to." I just sometimes have to help that mind see how. My not giving up, shows him he shouldn't give up either, and that slowly brings us progress! Sending ONLY him to school, he just wouldn't understand why only him.
Here we are, 3 weeks away from starting our school year. I am buying many wooden puzzles, finger pants, books with huge letters for learning to write, pencils with little gadgets on them to teach him how to hold them, and many other things that will help him learn these fine motor skills. We are throwing out the old style and going on with an even more hands on approach. My oldest two have even picked games and things they can do to help. We are all in this together. Together, we've got this!