I don't think I've shared much of my daughters story on here, so today seemed like a good day to do that. It's not a very long story since she's only 8 (or 8 1/2 as she insists us being clear on the variation), but it's already been an up hill climb for her.
Laila was 2 and half when Luis and I started dating. By that time, she had already had 3 surgeries and had tubes in her ears. When she was 4, we started speech therapy. At her initial evaluation we were told that she was about 60% intelligibility. What that means is that a person who is familiar with her can understand about 60% of what she's saying. By 4 years old the average child is close to 100% already. We were told she was scoring closer to a 2 year old. We knew that she was behind and it was going to be a rough couple years.
Over the next 2 years, we went through 2 rounds of tube replacements. We learned that due to the combination of allergies (causing an abundance of drainage into her ear canal) and an anatomically narrow canal, the fluid was pushing up against her ear drum and pushing the tubes (which are meant to help with the drainage) right out of their place. Basically rendering them useless.
Around the age of 6 she was looking at possibly having an actual hole drilled into her to substitute the tubes if the we couldn't get the fluid under control. We were told that she had some scar tissue on her ear drum which could have caused some potential hearing loss. They said that depending on the severity of the loss, she could be looking at reconstructive ear surgery.
We refused to accept either of those possibilities, instead believing that our God is bigger. In 2020, we got some positive news finally. When she went in for her check up, they said that she finally didn't have any fluid in her ears and that her hearing scores were normal. We praised God for this healing and were so grateful to see His hand in this.
But..... about a month later, more bad news. After spending about 3 months homeschooling Laila due to covid, we received a request to have a last minute end of the school year meeting with her teacher and principal. At this time, they told us that their recommendation for Laila was for her to repeat first grade. As parents, the 3 of us ( her mom included), were honestly not in complete agreement.
In the end, we realized what was best for her and the decision was made to have her repeat 1st grade. Over the year, we realized there was a deeper issue going on. We found it worrisome that everything she was learning was as if she had never seen it before and was learning brand new material. We had thought that she would have a leg up on 1st grade and that it would help her to feel confident and learn to like school. But she still struggled.
So, this year we had some additional testing done. We confirmed that Laila has Audio Processing Disorder. What that means for her is that her brain processes information slower than others. If we speak to quickly to her, what was said may not make sense to her. This affects her ability to follow directions or often learn new material. She also has difficulty identifying variations in tones. So if we speak to her in a certain way, she may think we're being mean or are mad at her (we were told this would likely be an issue among teenage girls in the future). This is also a problem if there's a lot of background noise in a room. She will likely be easily distracted cause she can't focus on one sound over the other.
This diagnosis sucks for her, but it gives us a better understanding as how we can best help her to be successful.
Now this is the testimony of what our family has faced, so let me tell you what God has done in the midst of all of this. God has taught us how to fight for Laila. How to advocate for our child. Co parenting can be super challenging and difficult to navigate, but because of our deep love for Laila and "team Laila" mentality, we've learned that we ALL have her best interest at heart. And because of that we are able to get along and even appreciate each other. We work as a team running from speech appointments and doctors visits and trying to set up play dates or activities with kids who will be kind to Laila and not treat her differently because she may not be on the same page as they are.
We've learned to rely on God for what only He can do. Her healing and her breakthroughs. We've learned to pray and pray hard.
When you have a child with communication issues, you learn to communicate in a different way. We've had to learn to think outside many boxes and to make learning fun. We've learned to focus on the positive and not dwell on a negative report. We've learned to not emphasize Laila's struggles in her learning by amplifying her strengths and interests. God must get a kick about Laila's favorite and best subject being my worst. She still thinks it's hilarious that I lit a fire in the microwave that time we tried to create a soap snake (surely they must've been faulty instructions).
We've learned to be strong and to not give up and do the work.
Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. 1 Chronicles 28:20
Laila is ready for 2nd grade and she's excited. She never gave up and though she struggled she learned to be a fighter and that she can overcome hurdles in life. There are still more to come, but I have confidence that God is with her and us and whatever is to come we WILL over come.