I’m beyond honored that our community was inspired by my LD success story that I shared in my last blog. However, I’d be lying if I said I got here all on my own. Without the dedication and passion of one special woman—my amazing mother—I would not be as successful as I am today. I share her story today in honor of the many parents who give their all so their children with LD can succeed.
When I was little, my mom worked in the exciting world of fashion. For those of us who are fashionistas, a career in fashion is heaven on earth. But when I was diagnosed with LD, my mom made the decision to leave her high-flying job and devote her time to helping me. Why would she walk away from it all? Well, it’s not just because she’s my mother. It’s because she’s the most selfless person I know. She’s an inspiration, my partner in crime and my best friend.
Her devotion to my learning was unmatched. Far from the glitz of Fifth Avenue shops, she patiently sat with me at all hours of the day and night to help me prepare for my spelling quizzes. Parents whose children don’t have LD might think this wouldn’t be a huge commitment—helping your kid with homework can’t be more than working through the most challenging material for twenty minutes or so, right? This wasn’t the case for us (and many other families with a child who has LD). It would take us twenty minutes just to get through the first question.
I’d come home from school and we’d slave over my homework for hours. Even in my early elementary school years, you’d think I was in high school with my workload. As minutes spent turned into hours, my mood declined. Reviewing a single concept over and over again was exhausting—not just physically, but emotionally. To be frank, I would get cranky. I would cry. I would storm off muttering how I was too “stupid” to understand. I don’t know how, but my mom was always patient with me.
Her homework help was only the beginning. My mom attended every IEP meeting with a binder full of every document ever recorded from my academic history. She was highly knowledgeable of the ins and outs of IEPs and 504 plans. As if this weren’t enough, she hired a legal representative, who we quite fittingly nicknamed our “pit bull.” My mom and the “pit bull” were an unstoppable force. They refused to quit until every necessary accommodation was in my IEP. If a teacher didn’t make an accommodation, my mom would take immediate action. She would talk with them on the phone by the next day.
I write this not solely to honor my own mother, but to praise all the selfless parents who do whatever it takes to help their children succeed. Not every family has the same story as my own, but no matter what the circumstances allow, parents of kids with LD again and again show that they’re willing to go to the ends of the world to help their kids.
Please know that even though your child may not truly understand and appreciate the importance of your efforts now, they’ll be eternally grateful later on. Without your help, the success stories of people with LD would never be possible. So, pat yourself on the back because you’re our inspiration. Thank you for all that you do!
Jill Smilowitz is a NCLD intern from Plainview, New York. She is an undergraduate student at the University of Delaware Honors Program. Jill is a Human Services major with a Spanish minor.