What do you think the most important factor is in making sure your LD child succeeds?
I asked this question to a wide-variety of people: friends, clients, and acquaintances. It didn't matter whether they were rich or poor, immigrant or native to the U.S. since the Mayflower.
Nor did it matter what color they were. The most popular answers were: money, having access to the best therapies, or having the time and patience to do all that needs to be done, in that order.
I've been in this field for more than 20 years, and if there's one factor that I've seen over and over again, is that someone in that child's life has to be able to hold on to the dream of that child's success.
That person doesn't have to be a mother or father. They don't even have to be a relative. It could be a teacher, a neighbor, or even the man at the kiosk stand down the street. But it has to be someone who stands with their back to the wind, plants their feet, and is ready to stand up for that child, do or die.
Not many people can do that. Not many people can look an expert in the face - the one with three degrees and the prices to prove it - and say "You're wrong. My child WILL do better than that."
There aren't a lot of people who can face the criticism, the rolling of the eyeballs, the knowing smiles, and the pity parties.
What a shame that Amy Chua gave a bad name to the term "Tiger Mom." Because it's not so often that a Tiger Mom has to put on the big red boxing gloves and fight - Mohammed Ali style - the establishment.
Most of the time it means sticking to the straight path day after day, week after week, making your way through a jungle of regressions, discontent, and sameness.
But it can be done. Here are 3 tips that will help you do just that:
Keep one foot in the future - but leave the other in the present.
A dream keeper has one foot in the future - but the other one in the present. Yes, you need to have a vision of what your child's future can be. But you need to break those goals into bite-sized pieces, bits that you can tackle one by one, on a daily basis.
Find someone to share the journey with.
You may read about one-man journeys to Kilimanjaro, or solo hikes through the Amazon. From the outside, it looks as if it one person did all the fancy footwork. In reality, however, you can't succeed alone. You need someone, maybe even a few someones- to help you celebrate the good and the bad.
Celebrate the little things.
Living with a child who has learning disabilities means there will be times when nothing seems to work. Times when you just can't take it anymore, and you hate yourself for even thinking of giving up. Times when everything you do seems to take you back to a brick wall that's impossible to climb.
The truth is, that you will almost never have the really big moment where everything suddenly goes right. The child who has reading problems won't just stand up and read Anna Karenina with feeling and intent. The child who's failed on nearly every single math test since school started won't start spouting Einstein's theory of relativity.
Life just doesn't work that way.
But there will be days when you watch your child read the next paragraph in her reader - and she won't stumble on every word. The day will come when your son finally remembers all of the multiples of number 8.
Take those moments, hold them gently in your hand, and hold on tight to each one. And yes, celebrate the success that each one is. Because true success - long lasting success- is made up of a thousand small ones.