Here it is:
Here's the journaling:
Life is full of struggles and challenges. I knew that. I didn’t grow up expecting life to be a fairytale. I knew that there would be bumps in the road … and lots of them. Still, when it happened, my whole world, changed. It happened gradually. It snuck up on me.
We were parents of three boys. We knew that Matthew, our oldest, had some difficulties but we just couldn’t figure out what it was exactly. He was always such a smart little boy, and yet there were so many things that he didn’t get … the little things like reading facial expression, making friends, and complying with what we thought were simple requests. We took him to doctors and specialists, all who couldn’t pinpoint what it was. Finally, one day, after another batch of tests, we heard the words “Nonverbal Learning Disorder.” In a state of both grief and shock, we floundered our way through whatever literature we could find and we were finally able to understand our son. He wasn’t trying to be defiant. 90% of his world was difficult for him to understand. He can’t understand nonverbal language. It was difficult to understand how someone who is so book smart, can have such difficulties.
Parenting our son has definitely been the biggest challenge of my life. As the years have gone by, we have seen him improve in some areas, but also seen the increase of anxiety as he tries to navigate a world that is so confusing to him. We have had to help him every step of the way. It’s hard to watch your sweet child be rejected by his peers who he really wants to be friends with. It’s an invisible disability. I have often thought that if he was in a wheelchair he would be treated with so much more respect.
At 19 I know that we will continue to struggle as he deals with his many challenges. It will be a lifelong challenge for him, and us as well, but we also know that out of these great life challenges come life’s biggest rewards. My reward is being knowing and loving the sensitive, sweet person that Matthew is.