Crazy Cow Country Farm

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He’ll catch up

October 16th, 2009 · 6 Comments · Uncategorized

I remember when the doctors explained to me that Darren had suffered greatly during my illness while I was pregnant with him.  I remember the look on the doctor’s face as he broke the news that there would most likely be brain damage – how severe was undetermined.  My heart broke.  I wailed that Ed should have chosen to save Darren and let me go during that surgery and I lived with hundreds of pounds of guilt over how my child would suffer as a result of my illness.  I remember the doctors telling me that “he’ll probably catch up” and the hope that gave me.  But I knew I couldn’t hold on to the false hope that one day he’d wake up and be *cured* but rather I accepted the reality and was grateful he was alive at all.

In first grade Darren underwent a battery of tests where it was determined that while his overall intelligence was just about normal, he suffered greatly with short-term memory.  Simply put, he nearly didn’t have any.  What would take a normal child three repetitions to grasp would take Darren nearly 100.  Now once he remember something then he proceeded fine, but getting him to remember anything was a mighty struggle.  As he entered second grade in the Newton school I realized within a few weeks that his teachers were unable to help him.  Despite an extremely specific IEP they were deviating from it drastically and refusing to meet with me.  But during this time we moved to the farm near Goessel and even though I’d planned to drive the kids into Newton for school, I talked with Ed about moving them to Goessel.  I believe that was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.  Goessel is ranked in the top 5% of school districts in Kansas and the teachers are fantastic.  Actually all the staff is awesome, from the cooks to the bus drivers – they know and enjoy children, you can just see it on their faces.

As Darren went through elementary school he blossomed.  His comfort level increased each year and he needed pulled out for extra help less and less.  Finally in fourth grade he reached grade-level in a few areas, which caused me to crumble into a sobbing mess during PT conferences.  Fifth grade seemed difficult as they prepared him for Junior High and then my fears were squashed last year as he sailed through sixth grade in a wing of the High School.  Last year we were able to stop all but the most minute of extra help.  This year something happened.  I’m not sure how to explain it and can’t even begin to imagine what caused it, but he’s different.  His attitude has changed drastically (for the better!) and his confidence has soared.  Maybe it’s playing football and being part of a team or just a little maturity, I don’t know.  He just seems to seek out and enjoy challenges now, he offers to help Ed with the hardest of farm chores, and he’s really gotten some strength as well.  But nothing could have prepared me for what happened this morning.

I received and signed the papers agreeing for the mandatory testing required for IEP students a few weeks ago and didn’t really think much about it.  So I arrived at the meeting this morning expecting to hear that we may need to modify his levels of assistance for the year, learn about his grades and behaviors, and agree to meet again in the spring.  But my heart stopped and my eyes welled up as I watched Darren’s face when the school psychologist read the results – within or above normal range in every area.  I was so stunned that I couldn’t speak.  The look of pride on my son’s face as she went through the results nearly brought me to my knees.  Normal.  He caught up.  I never really truly believed it would happen.

And just like during last week’s football game when he tackled the running back about 3 yards from the end zone, stopping a touchdown, I fought the urge to kiss him, hug him, and thoroughly embarrass him.  I took the news and told myself not to break down until I was alone in the car on the phone with Ed.  I’m just so proud of him.  I’m so in awe that this child is a part of our lives, so in awe that he fought so hard to live and even be born.

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