Sunday, February 17, 2013

My son Jesse

There are those landmark moments that stand out in one life such as weddings, births of children & grandchildren, graduation and so on. Well I want to share a Landmark moment in my life!

When my son Jesse was 5 I knew something was different about him. He didn’t know his colors & didn't speak. Family members thought he was autistic .I had him tested by a well known professional team in Columbia, S.C. and the results were that he had about 20 learning disabilities with dyslexia being one. They confirmed that he was not autistic but had severe auditory disabilities. Well I was crushed but at least I knew what I had to do and that was to be my child's’ advocate.

We had him placed in special education classes and he was mainstreamed. School was always a struggle. I remember when he was in 4th grade he wanted to drop out of school. Kids made fun of those in special education classes calling them “dummys”. On top of that he couldn't read and was not experiencing success. My heart was crushed. I knew I had to do something but didn't know what. I knew he loved baseball so I got him started on a baseball card collection and he started reading the backs of cards. I started paying him for every grade. ($4.00-A, $3.00- B & so on and if he failed he would pay me.)He gradually improved his attitude towards school and reading skills improved a little.

Fast forward to high school. When Jesse was in high school he hung out with other kids  who had no goals in life but to get high. He had been on the swim team his sophomore year but didn’t try and soon quit the team. Jesses senior year he decided he wanted to try but the coach told him he needed to think about it. The swim coach decided to give Jesse another chance and it turned out Jesse broke 3 school records his Senior year! He was recruited to swim for Ouachita Baptist University and was a Division II National Breaststroke Champion!! Jesse graduated from OBU with 2 majors & 2 minors!(Graphic Design, Physical Education, Health ,Art)

Fast forward 15 years after graduation from college. Jesse was a webmaster and swim coach and was encouraged by a friend and former OBU swim teammate to get his Masters degree. He worked on his Masters for several years while working full time and he just recently finished his student teaching and his paperwork!

I just want to share with all of you that this is a LANDMARK moment in my life as a proud mama! Parents be your child's  advocate. Be their #1 cheerleader & supporter. Every child has gifts. Find out what they are and encourage them. Yes, there will be many bumps in the road but you can do it!

My son Jesse did and I am so proud of him!