The Tender Soul of A Child.

Today he will start 4th grade and it's safe to say that my heart aches for him.
If you have been reading my blog, you'll know that Bradley has gone through some pretty
sad things. To recap you can read this post.

Most mothers long for summer to be over and I long for summer to stay. I know by now children have driven their mamas to the breaking point of parenting. Those quite mornings are a dream come true after warm sunny days of them being home, but for me they never get old. I love the late morning snuggles and the late nights of game and giggles.

I'm sure I'm just over thinking things and this is why my bum is the size it is, but I can't help but feel nervous. At the end of the school year (last June) my sweet son had a broken soul. The emotional damage his 3rd grade teacher caused, showed signs all over Bradley's little boy frame. Our long road trip to MO allowed him to feel safe and he finally started to tell us how he felt inside.

When we came home, I pumped him with love and sweet compliments, letting him know that he was amazing and so precious to Mr. Sonboul and me. We decided with all he went through, he should repeat the 3rd grade and this would allow him and us as parents to "slow down" everything spinning around him. It would allow him to build his confidence and give him the time he needed to catch up on all the work he got behind on. The plan was presented to Bradley and his handsome face showed comfort in our choice.

By July Bradley seemed to be getting better, after being yelled at for months and not feeling like he was smart enough. Then one beautiful day Mr. Sonboul said to me " have you noticed Bradley's face?". For those next two hours I watched him carefully and there it was. What we thought was getting better, really wasn't. Yes, Bradley was sharing his thoughts again, but the anxiety was still there and now causing facial twitches. We looked it up online and learned this is common in child with bad cases of anxiety. We went further, talked to his doctor (whom I love) and got approval for testing.

Last week Bradley went to a specialist for children with audio and visual delays. Now remember I have this same learning disability and after the testing, I/we learned so much. The tester asked me questions and as I kept saying "yes", I learned that Bradley and I are light sensitive. AMAZING! I never understood why I would fall asleep while reading and now I knew. I also learned that Bradley is left ear sensitive, which allows him to pick up on tones in voices. Making him aware when someone is upset within the first few seconds. I discovered that I must also have this. It is really rare, but real. NO WONDER WHY HE STARTED TO FALL APART, after being with a teacher who yelled all the time. It makes me sick to my stomach!

Finally I got a hold of the principal to see what we needed to do for the school year repeat. I was shocked! She told me "we needed to start the paper work back in last October". WHAT?! It turns out that in order to have a child repeat, you have to do "check in's" all throughout the school year. We didn't even get his IEP until February. I called my BFF (who is an amazing special needs teacher) and asked her
"What should I do? Should I go to the district and fight this? Rattled the cage??".  She said
"Oh Heidi, I tried to tell you about this. There is so much paper work and they make it so hard to help children that should be able to repeat".

Heart broken I called back his principal and worked out a plan for our little peanut butter. It seems like it might work, but I'm really nervous about this whole thing. He is just starting to heal and now we are throwing him into a much harder grade, where they are expected to pilot themselves???

So while most of you celebrate this new school year, I'm walking into it with regrets of not doing my research back in October, but how was I to know?! I'm sure Bradley will be happy to see everyone at school today and being back on the playground. I'm sure he will love the field trips and eating pizza on Fridays. Having me teach art classes and having his little brother on the playground with him (Calvin's in 1st grade this year). My hopes are that the plan works. Yes he has a disability, but every single person that tests him says
"Your son is very bright. VERY BRIGHT!" and  "He speaks with perfection for his age and most adults don't explain details the way he does". Or " I've never had to test a kid that long. He just keeps getting the answers right!".

My hopes are that with this plan in hand, Bradley catches up and the repeat isn't necessary. That maybe this was the LORD's doing and we need to trust it and work hard. I have no idea, but it's all I have. So today, I ask you all around the world that might be reading this... Please pray that Bradley will have a good school year and that this plan will work out. Sorry this post was so long. I'm trying to get these feeling out instead of wanting to eat. In short... I love my son and I only want the best for him

a concerned mother.

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Beth Hallgren said...

My heart hurts for you both! My son has a speech impediment, he stutters. After a couple of years of speech therapy at school, it wasn't getting better, in fact worse! We took him to U of M for testing and he has a rare form of stuttering that they said needed intense therapy to help and even then he would never not stutter :( There are only 2 therapists in my state that specialize in this therapy and one doesn't practice therapy. It's a really long story. I'm happy to say he is 15 now and most can't even tell he stutters and this is without therapy!

When he was in 2nd grade he was doing OK but I could tell that he wasn't working to his capacity and was a little socially withdrawn. I decided to hold him back even though he had good grades. I met with a lot of resistance but I told them I am his mother and I know what is best for him! I've never regretted it. He was like another kid that next year. We were worried about how the other kids would treat him but it blew over quickly. There is much more to this story if you'd like to talk :) My email is ehallgren@comcast.net. Hang in there!

Emilie said...


NO MATTER WHAT...he will be okay. God will take care of His little children. He has concerned and loving parents who will make it work out.

Mary-Anne V said...

Oh your post brought tears to my eyes. As a former teacher I am shocked that someone would inflict harm like your son's 3rd grade teacher. Just know that I am keeping him in my prayers and remember you are his first and only advocate. Do what you need to do to make his life happy even if that means ruffling some feathers! Also, I am a firm believer that God will take care of him and all of us. Have faith. All the best!

Leslie said...

I'm so glad you are figuring this out now. I worked with too many kids that didn't learn these things until they were teenagers. You think he's struggling now? Just think of adding 4 more years onto it, then puberty, and a whole lot more peer pressure, it gets real bad fast! He's still young and his self-esteem is still influenced. Count your blessings on that one.
Just one other thought, I'm not sure I'd do it if he was my kid or not but something to consider if the schools are being so difficult is home schooling, even if for a couple years. You can get in with groups so he still gets social interaction and field trips etc but you set his pace and you are his teacher who isn't yelling etc. Not sure if that was un-solicited advice but it works for some.

Liz romo said...

You guys are such amazing parents and show so much love to your children!! Its not easy I know , I went through something similar with Gabe. Just remember that he is a special child of God!!

The Ark said...

My heart breaks hearing again about Bradley. He will be ok. Yes, Heavenly Father is in charge of our lives and we do not know why some things happen the way they do. There is only a reason, and only God knows. Because Bradley has a loving and caring family, not only his parents, but grandparents, aunts and uncles, to help him along the journey of life, he will be ok. He is such a sweet and caring child, who knows he is a child of Heavenly Father. He is always in our prayers daily. Love, Mom

Guiseppa said...

I love you Heidi. You know it will all work out. The Lord has a way of knowing just what we all need. Stay true to that and your sweet Bradley will be fine.

Cindy deRosier said...

Bradley has the most important thing he could possibly have: concerned parents who advocate for him, who are 100% behind him. Best wishes - sending prayers his way.

wendipooh13 said...

oh Heidi I am soooo glad you posted an update for Bradley!!! he is one amazing kid and I know he will do well!!! he has two super caring parents that love him and want the best for him. I was super super nervous about Austin and this new year, but I am sooo excited to say he has a teacher that he LOVES and is great with the kids. and after all the hard work from last year, he finally feels like hei is caught up and feels "smart" again in class!! I know Bradley will do great!!! {{HUGS}