He makes me laugh, this son of mine. I’ve always valued that quality in a person, and Ben has it mastered. I’ve been known to say that if someone can make me laugh, they’ve won my heart. This perhaps explains why I’ve loved so many of the boys who drive other teachers crazy. I find their humor, their smiles, the way they cut their eyes at me to be comical. We can joke together and make learning more palatable for them.
While Ben had my heart the moment he was born, his emerging wit and sense of humor have merely enhanced and expanded the ways I love him. His laughter is truly infectious and if he finds something genuinely funny or even just “gets the giggles” everything screeches to a halt while we all bust up – him from whatever he found amusing, the rest of us from listening to him laugh. Even his sullen 13-year-old sister can’t resist sometimes, especially if she sees me shaking silently with laughter, tears rolling down my face. We gasp, and catch our breath, only to start up again when his giggles resume.
He’s smart, this kid. And creative. He has the mind of an engineer. He can draw and design things with precision and detail (a gift from his father). He can build and invent without directions or instructions. Cars are his “thing”. He can name almost any car you see on the street, but his real talent is knowing the expensive ones – all models - Ferrari, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Audi, Aston Martin, Maybach, etc. He plans on living in Italy and racing Formula 1 cars. BIG dreams.
He is coordinated – a natural athlete – this boy. He can grasp most any sport he tries and excels quickly. He is spry and skinny – but he can bat, and kick and run and flip and jump – and, like a cat, always lands on his feet.
He is kind. Innately kind. Yes, we taught him right from wrong, good from bad. We instilled in him the importance of honesty, respect, kindness, and compassion. But his type of kindness is organic. A kindness that allows him to sit with a child with severe special needs who is having a rough time and help him settle down – without having been asked. A kindness that has him playing Barbies with his friend’s baby sister for hours without complaining (too much). A kindness that I would like to think I possessed, but which is truly foreign to me.
This kind, intelligent, creative, athletic, funny boy – my Ben, my heart, my perfect son – ALSO has dyslexia and ADHD.
So this kind child – also has a fierce temper. He is exasperating and exhausting. He makes
us worry and he makes us weary.
This intelligent, creative boy – also struggles with reading and math and writing – and
ALWAYS WILL despite the relentless modifications and interventions and extra
schooling we insist upon.
This athletic kid – can also lose control and bounce around and become wild, untamed.
This funny, witty boy – also cries and loses patience and becomes frustrated when changes
are slow to come, when the tutoring or schoolwork becomes too much, when he
feels dumb and worthless because of others’ lack of patience or understanding.
Yet – we fight – we fiercely fight – Ben, us – to NOT let his difficulties DEFINE him nor limit him. And really, why should they – when he is funny and intelligent and creative and athletic and KIND? Seems to me a perfect recipe for SUCCESS.
Some Facts About Dyslexia:
• Children with dyslexia have average to above average intelligence – they are NOT slow or dumb
• Dyslexia is not about letter reversals – the root cause of dyslexia lies in a difficulty processing sounds – not visual information.
• An equal number of boys and girls have dyslexia
• Dyslexia can vary in severity
• It is estimated that 10 in every 100 people have dyslexia – that means on average you probably have one or two kids in each of your classes who are dyslexic
• Children with dyslexia are often bright, good thinkers and creative. They tend to have strong listening vocabulary and excellent oral comprehension.
• Dyslexia is LIFE LONG and hereditary.
• People you may know who were/are dyslexic: Albert Einstein, Bruce Jenner, Cher, Magic Johnson, W.B. Yeats, Leonardo Da Vinci, Winston Churchill, Danny Glover, Nelson Rockefeller – and the list goes on and on…
Quote for the day: There is an enduring tenderness in the love of a mother to a son that
transcends all other affections of the heart.