My name is Wendy. I am 32 years old. I have 2 young sons and 2 older brothers. My dad is a Baptist minister and Bible professor. My mom is a pre-school teacher.
When I read the article in the Spring/Summer 2006 NATHHAN NEWS by Stacey Snider, who has a learning disability, a lot of it sounded exactly like me.
Especially when I was growing up.
Since I was really little, I struggled with developmental delays, a learning disability, hyperactivity, emotional behavior problems, obsessive compulsive behavior, social anxiety and poor social skills. I struggled a lot at home, at school, and out in public. Whenever we went to a new church or met new people, my dad would always tell them about my disability in case I said or did something that was embarrassing.
My oldest brother, who is now married with 2 little girls, wasn’t very understanding. My other brother always treated me like a normal brother would.
At school or other places, kids would tease me a lot and didn’t want to be my friend. Sometimes they would try to make me mad so I would react and they could get me in trouble. Adults just thought I was being bad and needed more discipline or punishment.
I had a few friends that I would play with on an individual basis, but was not good in large group settings. Sometimes I would say or do things that hurt other people and not even realize that I did.
In kindergarten through high school, I struggled to understand or do the work. In my teens I was diagnosed with mild depression and dyslexia. I also did a lot of repeating things and had an obsessive compulsive disorder. I would do or say the same thing over again and repeat questions. Things had to be done a certain way, in a certain order. (When I was 30, I was diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome.)
Back when I was a child, a lot of people would say I was crazy or “not quite right”. No one knew what was wrong with me.
Now I am happy to share with others about what it is like to have my type of disability. I want them to be more aware of what it feels like and to encourage them to find ways to work with children who are similar. Please help them reach their full potential.
I did eventually marry at age 23, although dating was a real challenge. I met someone who was willing to deal with my obsessions. At age 25 I had my first son and then a year later, I had my second son. They both have developmental delays of about 12—18 months. The youngest also has behavior problems like mine.
Like Stacey Snider wrote, I also know how it feels to be different, not normal, not smart enough. I still get discouraged about it, because I wish I was normal and that my children were normal, too. But at the same time, I know that God made each one of us the way we are for a reason. He still has a plan for our lives. No matter what struggles we face, all we have to do is to focus on the good things God has given us. We need to ask God to guide us and to give us wisdom where we lack. Because even if we don’t think that we are important or good enough, God views us as important to Him, and that is what really matters.