It’s been almost a month now since my son, Cade, was diagnosed as 2E (twice exceptional – see my last personal blog post here). In his particular case he has an auditory processing disability. He doesn’t have a hearing problem; his hearing is fine. But somewhere between the soundwaves entering his ears, and his brain processing that input, things get a little garbled. Now that we understand his issue it is easy to understand why he has been struggling to read and write so much over the last 3 years.
He was also diagnosed as being gifted in visual processing. His mind can take visual input and process it with a speed and accuracy bordering on unbelievable. This doesn’t surprise me as he has always amazed me with his natural aptitude for science/math/engineering types of things. Knowing this has also helped me understand just how frustrating his reading problems have really been for him. With such a high level of ability in visual processing, why he can’t make easy sense of the letters and words he sees written on a page must be very confusing for him, indeed. But of course if his brain is muddled about the sounds particular combinations of letters make, he has trouble turning those letters into words, and his reading and writing difficulties make perfect sense within that context.
I am so fortunate to have a friend, Michelle Becker, who happens to be a special education lawyer at Michelle Becker Law. She is an outstanding resource and has really helped Yan and me understand Cade’s Evaluation data and what it all means. She was also instrumental in helping us prepare for Cade’s IEP which was held last week at PUSD’s Field Elementary where he attends second grade. Andre van Rooyen, the pediatric neuropsychologist who performed Cade’s evaluation, attended the IEP meeting with us and helped keep everyone focused on what the data was telling us about Cade. The IEP team consisted of Cade’s principle, Ana Maria Apodaca, his English teacher, Natalie Palma, and the school psychologist and special education teacher, Giuliana Klijian and Carol Williams, respectively. All were incredibly helpful, professional, and concerned about Cade’s success, both scholastically and otherwise.
It’s been a whirlwind process: reading books and articles, talking to experts, preparing for and attending the IEP, gaining an understanding of Cade’s issues and options, dealing with Ella’s feelings that we’re giving all our attention to Cade lately, and juggling all the other everyday life activities which keep us plenty busy on their own. We have discovered just how ignorant we really are about education – in all its facets – and how our children can get the most from it. We have also learned just how fortunate we are. We have amazing, supportive, knowledgeable people surrounding us. We have children whose incredible gifts will provide them with remarkable opportunities during their lives (and whose challenges will provide even more opportunities).
There is much work to be done. And as we begin that work I am confident we can, and will, gather the tools necessary to achieve every parent’s dream-supporting our children toward leading happy, healthy, productive lives.