I was recently contacted by my children’s school district. They had retested some of my children and the results were, um, unexpected. You see, five out of my seven children have struggled at some point with learning disorders. The two most significant ones were my son, currently eighteen, who had speech issues and significant dyslexia and my daughter, fourteen who is cognitively delayed, dyslexic and has a mild form of autism.
The school was surprised because the normal pattern in high school is for a student to enter high school with a fairly high grade point average and for it to decrease a little over the next few years. However, my son’s GPA increased by almost ten points during his high school career! This occurred even as he played football, participated in band and in our church youth group. Then came the real shock, my daughter who had an IQ in the extremely low level had risen ten to twenty points in all areas, testing out in a low normal average range !! She even came out in the normal range on a behavior scale! How did this happen? That’s what the school wanted to know.
It occurred to me that the Lord had guided our choices, so, for the small chance that this story might help someone else, I’d like to share those choices here.
We offered it all up in prayer! I cannot tell you the numbers of Masses, Novenas and Rosaries we prayed, but what seemed to have the most impact was when we chose as a family to pray and fast together for one child’s specific needs. I must share a side story of another miracle here.
We have another on who had stopped going to Mass and Confession. He started using Marijuanna and our family suffered greatly for years. His siblings joined his father and me in regular prayer and fasting for him. We. recently finished a novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots and on the last day, our son went to Confession, came back to Mass and the Eucharist and has started making healthy choices at long last. We can never underestimate the power of prayer!
Back to our story, we also made a decision to work on our children’s social and emotional obstacles before worrying about their academic issues. Our feeling was that if we cleared that clutter, the academics would follow. Praise God, that seems to have been a good choice. We worked tirelessly on our son’s speech issues and our daughter’s autism. We practiced social stories and tried to help our daughter understand concepts that seemed foreign to her. We decreased her homework and increased her social skills.
Finally, I believe, contrary to the comments of some so-called experts, our large family positively impacted our kids’ academic abilities. We still have dinner together as a family every night and we talk about faith, politics, history and current events. No one’s disabilities are allowed to be an excuse for bad behavior or non-participation at our home. So in response to the school’s question on how my kids could have grown so much…I respond, how could they not?! God bless.