This past weekend my son performed in the local children's theater rendition of Willy Wonka. As you might know, my son has non-verbal learning disorder (NLD.) This makes it very hard for him to deal with the social situations involved with extracurricular activities. He also has challenges understanding the overall strategies of team sports. He's tried orchestra, football, soccer and swimming to name a few. All have proved frustrating to him and have done little to help his self-esteem, the one thing that I care about the most.
He's always enjoyed singing and dancing to a certain degree so when a neighbor suggested we sign him up for the local theater group I considered it. I was worried about the time commitment as it is hard for him to maintain focus for long periods of time. Of course I'm sure this is true for many 10 year olds! But my friend assured me that the director and volunteer parents who act as the producers are extremely patient with learning disabled kids and would welcome Spencer.
I have to say it was not without it's challenges. The entire family, including my babysitter, had to devote a significant amount of time to being backstage and working with Spencer to understand what he needed to do. But everyone was so accepting and supportive of him that it truly was an incredible experience.
Sitting in the audience Friday night I will admit I held my breath every time he came on stage, wondering if he really knew what he was supposed to do and would actually do it. But, my son has a talent and I'm so thankful that this amazing group of volunteers and professionals were willing to have the patience to bring it out in him. I don't think my eyes were dry during the entire performance.
Having a son with learning disabilities is a constant struggle. I'm always searching for the right solutions and the right fit. When it actually happens the joy is overwhelming.