And then it was 2012, and Tucker was six and a half. And our lives had changed on so many levels, and a delay became a disability.
* * *
My son is fearfully and wonderfully made,
but this week I learned that he has a learning disability.
What was a delay when he was two,
when my silent boy could not speak,
is a disability when he is six.
Children are most vulnerable to speech and language problems between the ages of 2 and 6. Statistically, the chance of improvement diminishes after this window.
My son is six and a half.
Way back when, way back then,
he couldn’t find his words.
The same is true now.
It’s called anomia.
We all have it to a certain degree.
It’s when you say, “Can you give me that, um, that…. um…” and you snap your fingers until you remember the word for pencil.
This happens to my son in his every sentence. For all of his life, he has understood every word anyone has said to him. But he often cannot retrieve the language to reply. He knows what he wants to say, and his words fail him.
He is smart. Every expert has agreed: oh, there is knowledge inside that boy. Deep knowledge.
Yesterday, he said, “Mommy, can you write my name on my football so it doesn’t get lost? And can you write it on the red part, because if you write on the black part, then… then… then… (insert long pause)… then the letters will … will be… (insert second pause) … be camouflaged.”
He is an expert at synonyms. He couldn’t think of the phrase “won’t show up,” so instead he danced around the idea until he found the word ‘camouflaged.’
Two days ago, he said, “Mommy, can you please explain to me why I can’t hear God’s voice?”
My son is a thinker.
If you’re patient,
if you listen without distraction,
if he knows he’s not rushed,
he’ll talk to you.
My son has a long history of learning differently than other children. This week, we enter our second jaunt down the path of the Individualized Education Plan. The experts, the collaboration, the diagnostic testing, the signatures, the puzzle pieces and building blocks to help my son to communicate. I couldn’t ask for a better team of advocates who know the laws, the systems, the assessments, and — most of all — Tucker.
I’ve done this before. But there’s a difference.
Last time, at the end of the day, when Tuck was nearly two and we learned there was a reason we hadn’t heard his voice, Robb said, “Hey, babe? He’s smart. We know he’s smart. Let’s show the world what kind of smart he is.”
I miss my partner, the one who knew this boy as well as I do.
I signed my name. Yes. Test my son, in every way you deem best. I trust you. And I know him. And he’s about to blow us all away.
My son is fearfully and wonderfully made. Period.