Sarah has a 9 year old boy who diagnosed with Dyspraxia. This is a neurological disorder beginning in childhood that can affect planning of movements and co-ordination as a result of brain messages not being accurately transmitted to the body. The journey of discovering why and how Sean is different was one filled with ups and downs. This is Sarah’s story to encourage other parents who are going through this same journey of discovery.
Every good and perfect gift comes from our Father in heaven.
Good and perfect… When my 1st born son, Sean, was diagnosed with at the age of 6, I asked God countless times why did this happen to the child that He has given me. Isn’t every good and perfect gift comes from Him? To me, this was less than perfect.
At the age of 3-4, we noticed that our son has symptoms of an ADHD child. As 1st time parents, we did not know what to do. We checked with his preschool teacher. She had the opinion that Sean was possibly an autistic or ADHD child. But sadly, she was later rebuked by the principal for giving such opinions. So nothing was done to follow through her observations. Then we had nice aunties who were helping out in the church crèche who told us that Sean showed signs of a special need child. But our parents dismissed the remarks, commenting that Sean is a bright and intelligent child. So, we let go of the thought until things got worse when he turned 6.
That was when my second child was born and my attention for Sean was divided. My mum, whom Sean was very close to, had to leave Singapore for a long period of time. And Sean had to prepare for Primary 1. This proved to be too many transitions for Sean.
It was then that my husband and I noticed a downturn in Sean. He started going toilet to relieve himself almost every 10 minutes. He kept having the urge till he felt so angry with himself. We brought him to the doctor who advised that it was most likely due to stress and it should go away soon. His problem persisted and he developed an OCD symptom. He kept smelling his hands and thinks that it stinks. Sean would repeatedly wash his hands again and again. He even had suicidal thoughts. All these raised the alarm bells and troubled us greatly.
We brought Sean to a psychologist who diagnosed him as a dyspraxia child. As he was unable to cope with the multiple transitions and it resulted in him breaking down in such a manner.
For the next 3 years, Sean went through occupational therapy that helped his motor skills. There were also social behaviour therapy and counselling given to him. Life was never easy for Sean. He was not able to perceive things like how other normal kids do. Due to his motor skills impairment, he was not able to keep up with his peers and thus often being rejected by friends, who blame him for any accidents that happened. He developed low self-esteem and a lack of confidence.
Being an anxious mother who had high expectations of Sean did not help him at all… I became quite a “monster” to him. Wanting to speed up the therapies, I instilled a “tiger mum” discipline on Sean. Our relationship was hurt… There were times I even wondered if I love this child.
Indeed, it has never been easy, for both Sean and me. Many times, I felt so tired and discouraged. But I thank God that He opened a door for me to spend more time with Sean. I thank God that He sent a “not-so-perfect” mother to encourage me that I am not alone. I got better and had a breakthrough in my relationship with Sean. (Friends around me seemed to be perfect mothers who are ever so patient and loving to their kids. So I had never really shared with them my struggles.)
Sean is now 9 years old. Is he a good and perfect gift from God? In the past 3 years, I am totally convinced that YES YES YES, Sean is a good and perfect gift from God. Sean is a beautiful child. He has a big heart. A heart that allows me to make mistakes while in the pursuit of wanting to be a perfect mother. A heart that always love and forgive. A heart that always hold his mother so dearly. Sean is my special child. Through him, God taught me how to love.
There are so many things that I would love to share about a dyspraxia child. I will when there is another opportunity. But very importantly, for every child out there, every special child has a special need. A need to be loved.
I thought the best thing for me to do now is to share a little of my story to encourage mothers like me. Many times, so much focus is on the child that mothers do not get the “therapy” themselves.
If you feel that you belong to the “not-so-perfect” mother like me, remember that in every mistake we make, we can only get better. You are the best mother for your child. No one can ever replace you.
This is part of a series I’ve started – Therapy 101, to document Nadine’s developmental struggles and victories, and to journal my own learning experiences as she goes through hers. We have occasional guest posts to share other stories of parents with children going through therapy.