My youngest son, Micah, graduated from high school on Saturday. I found myself reminiscing about all the years that lead up to this important day. Micah was born after 23 hours of labor and 4 hours of pushing. Nineteen years ago, they used metal forceps to pull him out which left him with palsy in half of his face. This went away after 6 months, but was only the beginning of the many challenges he would have to overcome. At 2 years old, he began banging his head because he was so frustrated that he couldn't be understood. This followed with 10 years of speech therapy to improve his intelligibility. At four years of age, he was diagnosed with ADHD and began medication. School years were challenging to say the least. I can recall more than one conference about his behavior and learning problems. I remember his kindergarten teacher telling me he didn't know his letters and me knowing that he did. You see, he could point them out, but just couldn't name them. There was also the time when he failed his spelling test because his speech was so bad and he spelled it like he heard it. Finally, in the second grade we decided to give Micah what I call "the gift of time", an extra year in school so that he didn't have to struggle so much.
I remember the endless IEP meeting; feeling like a lone fighter for my child in rooms full of educators. Teachers telling me he talked too much, couldn't keep up with anything, and was very disorganized. I remember praying he would pass his classes and celebrating when he made 4's on the end of grade test. Let's not forget the never ending doctor visits to discuss medication and strategies to help Micah not worry about the dates on food, washing his hands constantly, and other anxieties that often go along with ADHD. Mostly, I remember the endless nights on my knees praying for patience, wisdom, and healing.
Wasn't it just yesterday that Micah was in the 7th grade and refused to take his medicine anymore? It sure does seem like it! I told him that if he could control his behaviors and make good grades, he wouldn't have to take it again. That was the last year he ever took it. He found his passion in sports and once he found it, it flowed over into every area of his life. He also found solace in spending time with God and between sports and church, his life was blossoming.
Fast forward to Saturday, graduation day for my baby! He actually graduated with an orange tassel for distinguished because of his grades. I sat there thinking of all of the families that I serve with children with special needs and how hopeless they feel at times. I have walked that journey and am here to tell you there is HOPE! Just look at my Micah.
A proud mom, Norma Honeycutt,
Partners In Learning, Executive Director