As a self-described ‘older parent’, Laura thought her difficulty keeping up with her preschool-aged son had more to do with her own age than with anything else. But when the school started calling with concerns, she realized there was something going on.
When their pediatrician referred her to a psychologist, Laura’s son was diagnosed with ADHD. To be more involved with her son’s schooling and therapies, Laura left her corporate job to take something that would be more flexible. Laura’s son was eventually referred to a developmental pediatrician who confirmed a developmental disability. Around that time, another parent suggested she contact Raising Special Kids.
Laura found Raising Special Kids’ resources and programs helped her deal with her son’s challenges. As her son entered fourth grade things changed. Laura shared, “Fourth grade was really tough; tough for him and tough for me. I love kids! I really love kids but I was having a hard time ‘getting’ my own kid. I found myself slipping into a deep depression and losing faith in my ability to be a good mom.” Laura reached out to Raising Special Kids’ Family Support Specialist Wendi Howe, and explained her concerns about her son’s situation at school. Wendi had completed training in the Positive Family Intervention (PFI) program and recognized some red flags during their conversation that indicated Laura might benefit from the program.
Laura admits she didn’t fully realize what she was signing up for when she agreed to participate in the PFI program but she says, “It couldn’t have come at a better time. I thought it was going to be a class, but I didn’t think it was all going to be for me. That was a complete surprise.”
After her first PFI session with facilitators Wendi Howe and Dr. Dan Davidson, Laura recalls, “I felt like I had won the lottery.” As the 2-hour weekly sessions progressed, she compared the experience to rock climbing, “I gained purchase — a handhold so I could pull myself up. I really think it saved my life!”
Laura completed the PFI program and recently reflected on what she gained from the experience, “I’m optimistic about the future. I know my son has lots to give. I take one day at a time and when things get rough, I reread the workbook I completed in the program. It’s a touchstone for me. I’m a better mother.”
Laura’s son is now in fifth grade and helping him get the best education has not gotten any easier. Not long ago, she faced a difficult meeting with the school for which her usual support person was unavailable. Laura said, “It was challenging but I turned to the things I learned in the PFI program. I had to think about who was on my team and I reached out to them for help. I’m much more confident. You can’t give someone enough money to buy the empowerment I gained from this training. And, as beneficial as it is for me to learn these skills, I’m excited to know it will help me teach my son some of the same skills.”