• Life With The Littleton's

Education.

Updated: Dec 29, 2019

From special needs to learning curves and over the top achievers.


I have had two children over the past several years who were clever enough to pretend they didn't know their numbers or alphabet just to put me into a complete state of hysterics. "What letter is this?" (letter W). Child in response would say, "E" along with a giggle. (insert eye-twitch). It was enough to make me want to sit in a corner and cry or I'd get so frustrated that I'd issue time-outs. Fearful they wouldn't even get accepted into school because Heaven-Help-This-Child not pretend they don't know their stuff.


Kindergarten registration days have been known to make me sick to my stomach. Trevor has had to do the last few registration days because well. . . he's the doctor of books and it just makes more sense to me. I think my 10,000 texts of "what are they asking them?", "How are they doing?", "What did they say?" drive him a little crazy none the less.



We start of every school year with great

intentions and little expectations.



This past year, we made it into the second semester before one of our kids received a yellow slip! {YAY}. Excessive talking during class. Assuming the teacher expected us to sit our child down and have a discussion on why they shouldn't talk so much in class and then sign the slip and return it, we internally celebrated the fact that it took "that long" before a warning slip was given since it's literally a daily struggle for this child to even be quiet for more than two minutes.


We have a child who told us that school is lame, the school day is too long and that she just doesn't understand why she should even go at all. Too smart for her own good this child is. She also wouldn't comply with instructions or coloring the worksheets the teacher gave unless it had something to do with cats. The teacher ended up giving her duplicate worksheets in hopes she could try to do it correctly. Read a story and illustrate in the box given, and this child would just draw cats even if there wasn't a cat in the story. One occasion, I even wrote a note of apology to her teacher and had to explain our child's unique love for cats. Although, I think they figured it out since her daily attire is cat themed.


We don't take for granted that for a few of our kids breeze through their education; it just comes so easy. There's never the struggles that require multiple parent teacher conferences or the need to go to battle for additional learning assistance that you know your child needs. We celebrate the wins on every level.


It can be frustrating when we don't know "how" our children learn and how they process information. Especially when it comes to adoption. Education can become an outlet of expression and new exciting challenges and high success, even an area to forget about the past or it can be a huge negative trigger. We've seen both scenarios.


Post Orphanage Behavior Disorder can often be misdiagnosed as ADHA or ADD.


We had to 'educate' our local school on this behavior as well as gifted our children's teachers the book we wrote "We Found You - A Ukraine Adoption Story', just so they could get a glimpse into our children's life beforehand.


One of our kids had an emotional meltdown after the second week of school. Zoned out with dark pupils, sitting on the floor rocking back and forth while holding their head. Goodness, if this was happening after school was released, how on earth was this child behaving while they were at school? We've had some really tough decisions as to what's better for this child, their emotions or their education because there was no middle ground in this situation.


After meeting with a few resources on the topic and laying out every conceivable option, we opted that being home and bonding and eliminating the pressure of class room structure would be the very best option even if that meant being behind.


We've witnessed a child go from being 100% mute and non-verbal and significantly hearing impaired to succeeding thru Kindergarten. Oh, the hard work and determination this has taken and I assure you it has taken a village and team of people. From networking with the Children's Hospital to multiple ongoing speech therapy sessions an hour away from home, test after test and countless evaluations and assessments, we are starting to {finally} see unbelievable progress.


We were teetering on the brink of being told this same child was so mentally handicapped that he shouldn't be in a regular school.


We knew better because he's a drastically different child at home than what you're seeing at school.


Thankfully we had a few people who were willing to trust us enough to wait it out a bit longer when we said, "He's just needs more time." It was an answered prayer there was willingness to be persistent and he proved them wrong. BOY DID HE PROVE THEM WRONG!


He's turned out to be quite the testimony and continues to overcome the statistics but, it's all been in his own time.



We have a child who would rather build and create than read or write. This kid loves school and it's never been a matter of convincing to get up and go. He's needed a little help with reading because, well he's a boy and it's just not on his most favorite things to do at school especially when there's phys-ed and recess. I wish we could have recorded our reactions after reading his school journal entries this past semester for the first time. Each one had an explanation of course however, I really felt compelled to email his teacher and explain each one. These are just a few of the very large journal. . .



Ok, so just to clarify:

  • Getting six kids out the door on the exact same day is a struggle. Especially if there are a few kids who think school is over-rated. I'm trying ya'll...some days it's a miracle they even get there with a few minutes left to spare.

  • Do we have ghosts? I don't know? Our house was built in 1929, the probabilities are high.

  • Trevor probably snuck out of the house to grab a candy bar or iced tea at the gas station around the corner and didn't want a million kids begging him to take them too. Yeah we totally sneak out of the house all.the.time and then text each other "hey I'll be back in a second I'm going to ______." Maybe it's a bad example sneaking out of the house so much. I'm sure we will revisit this when they are all teenagers.

  • Do your kids ride bikes in the winter if they get a bike as a Christmas. You totally wait until spring to open the box, right? (please say yes)! Should I mention we live in Ohio?

  • We've picked this cat up, right? Maybe? "Hey Trevor..."

  • Well, he did have a best-selling book on Amazon. Actually, Trevor couldn't remember what this was about. (disclaimer: Kids...always sign your name on your fan-mail letters so you're remembered)!



Repeating Grades.


I recall that sinking feeling siting at the small table with miniature student chairs discussing the results of their evaluations; reaching for a Kleenex just the same way I did when we are told of huge milestone successes.


Are we doing enough? We were told of orphanage delays but you just don't know how those will surface until a child is home, settled and transitioning.



Trauma, neglect, abandonment, fear, insecurities, orphanage delays all play a very large role in learning.


We have seen the MRI images of one of our child's brain. Higher than normal amounts of white brain matter. To physically see the results of neglect; the areas of the brain that form the first few years of life and respond to touch and nurturing. Those areas are filled with white matter because no-one took the time to physically pick this child up as an infant and coddle him, rock him or love him. This has played a very large roll in learning.


Not ever is it acceptable in our household to ever under any condition call a sibling stupid. We won't tolerate it. Oh it's happened a few times and the consequence is immediate. We have explained to our children who don't understand why math isn't hard or who never have homework because they get it done at school or who can breeze through chapter books like they are brochures, that everyone in our family learns differently and we are never-ever to make fun of them.

EVER


Progress.

As long as we are seeing progress, no matter how small.


Have you ever run across a testimony story that makes tears stream down your face? The stories of students who were told they were stupid in their time of youth and couldn't learn; they that would be a failure? All to turn out to be an amazing walking testimony of success because they had that one person (or village of people) in their life who believed in them?


{hold on while I grab a tissue}.


We are currently raising future testimonials. I fiercely believe this! And we tell our kids constantly how smart they are even when they are struggling.


I've said it time and time again. I will speak this about our children until they are adults because there are days it's a struggle to see any progress.


"They will be a testimony one day."


Sometimes the progress is few and far between but we cling, pray and hope for the next milestone to be reached. And we have to wade through the deep waters on the challenging days where we feel like we take a half of step forward and 10 steps backwards.


Focus on the progress. Take a deep breath. Find joy in the small successes. Rally for support and fight for extra resources. Grant yourself grace as a parent. Every child learns differently. Find a safe place to vent. Emotional needs of a child are equally, if not more important as their education. Nothing of success can be achieved overnight. Some success stories take years. Try. Encourage. Pray. Hope. Gain a team mentality.


Team Littleton:

We are all in this together and no-one is left behind,

even if it takes one longer to get to the finish line.





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