Some kids learn at a slower rate than others. Some kids’ behaviors might be a symptom of frustration. Some kids just need extra support to help them succeed.
RG came to stay with us when he was 9. He was the child of a friend who was a single mom. She couldn’t afford childcare so asked us to keep him for the summer. We were so glad to have him with us. He was a year older than our youngest son. They became the best of friends. Our daughter loved having two little brothers. He fit into our crazy, hectic life.
Before coming to us, RG had been in a classroom for kids with behavior problems for several years. He also was diagnosed with ADHD and a reading disability. None of us could figure out why he was in a behavior class. Yes, he had ADHD, but he was fun and funny and a great friend to our younger son.
That summer we started a book club. I bought 4 “Percy Jackson & the Olympians” books that we could read together. My hubby and I usually read a chapter of the book to the kids every evening. We did not ask the boys to read out loud. Both boys loved that book. While the youngest was a voracious reader, he usually read technical books or history books. Fiction became a new love for him. Over that summer, our foster son actually started reading a little better too. We all enjoyed our book club. RG’s world of learning started opening up as we sat and read as a family.
The end of summer came. Mom didn’t. It looked like RG was going to be with us for a while. We enrolled him in the neighborhood elementary school. He was assigned to a regular 4th-grade class. His teacher understood him and had great skill in keeping him engaged. He started learning at a rapid rate.
His progress was confirmed when he had his 3-year special education evaluation. He no longer qualified as a student with a reading disability. Although he continued to have difficulties with math and writing, as far as reading went, he continued to improve. He soon was reading beyond grade level, and that progress never stopped. His comprehension went up and more importantly, reading became a passion for him. And he became a good student.
RG has been “one of ours” for a long time. He loves to sing and write poetry. He graduated from high school right on time. He’s not sure what career path he will take, but he’s a hard worker and has no problem keeping a job. He will be a success. He is a success. Special education did what it was supposed to do for him. It gave him the time he needed to grow into the bright young man he is today.
The Education and Schools section has lots of information about special education and learning opportunities for your child.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we asked parents of children with disabilities and special health care needs to share their tips and stories about caring for their children during difficult times.