Today I invited a guest blogger/friend Julie to share about her extraordinary kid. Julie is a wonderful mom. I admire her honesty and patience. I know her extraordinary kid, Alvin, from church. Alvin and my oldest daughter have been in the same primary class and now are in the youth together. I talk to Alvin at church and he is one of the friendly, sweetest kids there....I'm sure Julie has a lot to do with that! This is what Julie wrote on her blog...
"When Melinda, a woman from our church who has a super cute crafty blog Under My Umbrella asked me if I would write about our extraordinary young man, I had a hard time getting started. Alvin takes a lot of effort and creativity to raise, and I tend to focus on how much work it is. But He's also a great kid so I decided to start with his strengths. He is thoughtful and considerate. When he gets money the first thing he thinks of is what he can buy for his brothers. He loves animals and is very sweet and gentle with them. He loves babies and though he sometimes has a difficult time interacting with them he adores his younger nephews. He’s great at remembering facts, and knows the birth dates and ages of all our extended family. He’s in his 4th year of playing the piano, and I rarely have to remind him to practice. He’s a blue stripe in Tae Kwon Do, likes to play board and card games, ride his bike, read and anything football (especially the Oregon Ducks!)
Alvin came to live with us when he was 3 years old through foster care. He didn’t speak, couldn’t walk for more than a few yards, and had a lot of anger/behavior problems. I started teaching him sign language in hopes that his behavior would improve if he had a way to communicate his needs. He picked up on signing right way. A few weeks after he moved in with us we were looking through the Hotwheels box while waiting for the school bus. I was pulling out cars and signing their colors. After a couple of cars he started picking out the red ones and signing “red”. I was so excited, because that was the first time I knew there was a lot more going on in inside his head than his teachers and specialists were giving him credit for. Alvin spoke his first word “mine” when he was 3 ½, and since then has made slow, but steady progress. We adopted Alvin when he was 6.
When he was about 10 we met with a team of doctors and therapists at a local hospital and got a diagnosis of dyspraxia*. While it seems to make the doctors and therapists happy to have a label, it hasn’t changed the way we’re raising him.
Alvin’s now 13. He’s made so much progress, but he’s still very difficult to understand. It also takes him a long time to put his thoughts together so few people have the patience to have a conversation with him. Socially he’s about the age of a 7 year old, and he still has a lot of anger and frustration.
“When God made you He had us in mind.” This is the quote we put on our adoption announcements, and though some days I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle I know that Alvin was meant to be with us. His preschool teacher told us that we saved him, but in so many ways Alvin has made me a better person so I think we’ve mutually benefited. ☺
*Dyspraxia is an impairment or immaturity of the organization of movement. It is an immaturity in the way that the brain processes information, which results in messages not being properly or fully transmitted. Dyspraxia affects the planning of what to do and how to do it. It is associated with problems of perception, language and thought."