The Trailblazer – FASD Success Stories Series (3rd Story)
DJ was the most beautiful toddler and he had such a charming personality and joie de vivre. It seemed that he learned so quickly, yet it was obvious that he could never catch up with his peers. It was not until he was almost 6 years old that we got an FAS diagnosis, which was devastating to us and was enough to send me into total clinical depression for a time.
Well, with all of the professionals we had employed to help us help him, DJ had a tremendous scaffold supporting him that allowed him to hang in there academically in kindergarten (Christian school) and first grade (public school). By 2nd grade, it was obvious to everyone, including DJ, that he was floundering across the board. In the middle of 3rd grade, (specialty school) DJ’s anxieties escalated to a degree that I gave up my career as a Speech-Language Pathologist to homeschool him. Although I struggled with my decision to pour myself into a child for whom college seemed unattainable, God really affirmed that THIS was my calling.
DJ is now 15 years old. Because of Lindamood-Bell’s programs DJ speaks clearly (with occasional reminders) and he can read on grade level. DJ carries his copy of “What to Do When You Worry Too Much: A Kid’s Guide to Overcoming Anxiety” to remind him of strategies to manages his anxieties. He also carries an iPod to be able to listen to music that calms him and there are a few shows/movies on there for when he has a bad dream or cannot sleep at night. At the age of 10, DJ earned a black belt through Yong-In University in Tae Kwon Do. The confidence he gained through this sport has helped DJ overcome his fears…most recently using public toilets.