Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday snapshot - my hero

swan portrait 4 WM

Can a hero be an 8 year old girl?
Out of my own curiosity, I looked up the definition for "hero" and I found that it typically
described someone (usually male) that does brave, selfless deeds.
swan portrait 1 WM

When I describe Grace as a hero, I think of a little girl who has courage,
who fights onward,
never gives up and tries harder than anyone I've ever known.
She inspires, she inspires our whole family.

swan portrait 2 WM

At age 2 Grace was diagnosed with a profound speech delay.
As in almost no speech and language.
She babbled some and had good receptive language (she could understand what we said to her).
She has received Speech/Language services from 2 until now (8 1/2 years old).
And she has worked really hard and done remarkably well!
swan portrait 6 WM

As this school year has progressed and the 2nd grade work has gotten
harder and more like 3rd grade.
Something wasn't quite right.
She was having word retrieval problems.
Grace would call a word the incorrect word at times.
She would have difficulty re-telling a story or remembering details.
I could tell by the look on her face when she was struggling.
But she kept trying her best, and it didn't get her down.

swan portrait 3 WM

In January, I had asked for her to be tested and she was diagnosed
as having a Language Based Learning Disability.
Grace is a bright little girl, who needs more time to process verbal and written directions.
During her IEP, I gave them several examples of how she processes language - if she can't
find the 'right' word when speaking to us,
she'll substitute the Spanish word (she takes it in school).
I thought that was very creative and smart.
The way Grace's learning disability was described to me is that it
has to do with how her brain categorizes words and ideas.
The words are's just that sometimes she can't find them.
Grace is now reading at grade level which has come with hard work and great effort on her part.
Through it all she has maintained a positive attitude, deep love of school, mutual admiration with her teachers,
and is receiving increased speech/language services.
 Add to that, loving support from me and my husband.
I'm not sure what the future will hold but we'll do whatever it takes to help her and
I know that she will keep working hard because she is as determined as we are.
As parents we want our children to be happy, healthy, safe and loved.
None of us are perfect, in fact I think it's our imperfections that make us more
beautiful and interesting people.
Whether apparent or invisible.

And now you know why she's my hero.

I recently read that 1 out of 5 people in the United States have a learning disability.
There is no 'cure' for them and they are life-long.
 However, children with LD can be high achievers and can be taught ways to get around the learning disability.
 With the right help, children with LD can and do learn successfully.

Sunday Snapshot

 Taken last week, these are some of my most favorite pictures of Grace.

25 kind words:

Barbara Palmisano said...

wonderful little lady!

Sharon said...

Yes, I would say she fits the definition of a hero!

Love Letters To China said...

Oh Gail...these are magnificent. She is such a beautiful little girl. You captured her in the perfect light. Now that I have met Grace I can understand perfectly how she is your hero. She is everything you have described and more. And she will definitely go far beyond what you can ever dream for her in the future.

Hope you're enjoying this long Memorial Day weekend. I have a little boy that is sick (yes...again) but that's not stopping us from having some good old fashion family time.


Number 6 and no more counting! said...

that girl is someone special that is going to do beyond special things. I feel that.

beautiful, stunning, shots of Miss Grace taken by a beyond special and talented Mommy!


Jill Samter Photography said...

wow! where do you even begin after a beautiful post like that Gail?

seriously - you just touched my heart on so many levels. the photos of grace are stunning as usual.

and yes, our children can be our heroes. i look at all that our adopted children have gone through and come through and sit in awe.

big hugs to you and your beautiful inspiration to many!

much love,

Sharon Ankerich said...

As an educator, I SO know what a difference the perfect strategies can make and how it does take that perfect teacher to help implement. I also know it takes a VERY active and involved parent to keep it going and stay positive!!! Grace is a treasure~ that's for sure. God put her just in the perfect family with the perfect mom and dad. He is SO good!!! Thank you for sharing your sweet heart and I love Grace even more now. What an amazing little girl!!! A beautiful hero!!! :)

China Dreams said...

She sounds like a treasure; I feel the same way about our first daughter.

Once you're tuned in to the LD world, you discover an enormous population of people who you thought were "normal" and who are, but also have a LD; when they are like Grace, and work to succeed regardless of it, they are inspiring.


Life with Kaishon said...

She is so beautiful Gail. I love these shots of your little hero. I love that she is able to work through her learning disability. I have no doubt that she will go far. : ) Very, very far!

Laurie said...

Sounds like you are her hero too... making sure you found out what was "wrong" and moving toward making it better! With that kind of support, she will thrive!!

Jboo said...

What a beautiful special girl. She is a treasure to your family and an inspiration to all.

Hope you have a great Memorial Day weekend.


ashley said...

Gail, truly beautiful pictures of your beautiful daughter. I can tell how proud you are of her. Your words were so touching and such a heartfelt tribute to Grace. Your beautiful hero, she is that for sure!
hugs, Ashley

Jen said...

She is beyond beautiful. Inside and out!

Tania Palermo Photography said...

These images are gorgeous..and the story is touching and inspiring. She sounds like a hero to me. Thanks for sharing...and much love to her.

Casey said...

Amen to this post!! Because Liam is on the spectrum he struggles with language and social cues but he has an outstanding ability with numbers and science. For all the "disabilities" we have... there is always a gift right in front of it. Wonderful that she is able to fight the good fight and flaunt her gifts!! She's a beautiful young lady!

the meaklims said...

Wonderful post, beautifully written. She's a hero alright and she's absolutely stunning.

And you are a wonderful Mama.

Susan said...

Your Grace is truly a hero indeed.

Beautiful as well...

My son was dx with a learning disabilty at the age of 5, and was in special ed throughout his entire time in school.

He's now 25, and my hero!

Although he is on a low level academically he has overcome so many things.

He's gifted in so many other ways, and has a HUGE tender and kind heart.

He never meets a stranger, and a smile never leaves his face.

He's overcome brain cancer too.

So nice to meet you.

What a joy it's been to be the mom of an extra special child♥

Margaret M said...

What a beautiful and amazing hero. As an Speech-Language Pathologist, I see the joys and struggles of children learning language daily. It was much harder to see my own children struggle...especially my wee Graeme. We are blessed to see their strength and courage. This is an amazing post...thanks for sharing.

Lisa said...

My son has an LD ~ Dyslexia ~ When he was first diagnosed I was told not to expect much from him academically. . I was told so many things about this child I knew it was not true.

I knew he struggled but I knew he was bright...very, very bright. AND He is VERY, VERY bright!

My husband and I pulled him and the other kids out of school at a time my husband was losing his job. But, still we started homeschooling. I can honestly say ~ My son's Dyslexia has been the greatest gift my family could have ever received. and I thank God for it all the time. I tell my son how grateful I am for this thing he struggles with. It will only make him stronger and more determined.

My son is not only the kindest, gentlest, most loving young man I have ever meet. He can see when things are wrong. He can feel things others do not pay attention to. He just knows. He is very talented when it comes to his hands and his heart.

I work very hard in our home school with my son ~ he is in all advance classes and He is reading at grade level... books take him a while but really I don't think it matters.

Can a child be a Hero? Oh! Yes!

Grace is perfect and beautifully stunning from the outside in. I think people are given disabilities to teach and strengthen those around them. I think she is the perfect daughter for you and your husband. I think you are the perfect parents for her. You see what beautiful things she has to offer.

I'm always so amazed at how young children can become teachers to their own parents. I think it's just beautiful. :)

AND your photos are stunning!!!!!! Tell Grace to slow down ~ She does not look like an 8 year old. She is Gorgeous!!!!!


quilt-n-mama said...

She is beautiful, and a hero so sure!

Kim said...

HERO is a perfect word for Grace..
You know my thoughts...
I love you all to the moon and back..
Hugz..Love you and miss you tons..

Football and Fried Rice said...

Wow, Gail - what amazing pictures of your gorgeous Grace! I can see how she is your hero! I love seeing kids overcome things, especially with their heads held high! Your are an awesome Mom for knowing Grace's needs and meeting her where she I'm inspired!

Terri said...

Thank you for writing this post. I didn't know about Grace speech delay. My Abbie is having a VERY hard time with speech and I worry so much about it and now they are doing even more testing on her this week. It was very interesting reading how she puts is Spanish words from time to time. Abbie does some of the same things. (not Spanish but just calls it by it's color).

I know I say this probably in every post but Grace is sooooo beautiful. I cant get over it. Your photography skills and her beauty.... perfection!

Robin said...

What a beautiful post Gail!

Faith Hope Love Photography said...

This is so honest and very true...I believe that with proactive parents like you guys our children can cope and achieve such greatness. I very, very much agree that every person has a disablility and that is what makes them special.

Calvin said...

A hero indeed, and a beautiful character that I wish my kids can learn from...

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