The ability to read is such a gift. My preference is to hold a real book in my hands, but with our travels I’ve often settled for accessing digitalized books through my Libby library app. Still, I’m quite blessed to have a good number of books filling the concrete shelves of our apartment in India. By bringing several books each trip to India over the last twelve years, our home library has grown, especially in children’s books.
I love to read good stories to children. Over the years several of the children at the Children’s Home have struggled to master reading. Village public schools simply don’t have the resources to assist children with special learning needs. While we employed a tutor at the Children’s Home to help the children with homework, it seemed her main strategy was simply to admonish the struggling child to “try harder,” rather than to address the actual, specific learning need of that child. I also tried to come alongside, but felt inadequate and ill-equipped.
Fast forward to last year. While our three daughters and I were stuck Stateside, it became increasingly apparent that one of our girls was falling behind in multiple areas in school. Through testing, it was determined that she has dyslexia in addition to apraxia of speech. This discovery explained a lot, and caring educators made recommendations for her unique learning needs. I was so thankful for all of the information I received, but my honest, prayerful response went something like this: “Lord, it feels like life is already complicated for my daughters. They’ve endured a long separation from their daddy, and have moved between two vastly different countries and cultures. Our life requires them to learn an especially difficult foreign language with a speech difficulty and now we have an additional learning struggle too? I’m not a teacher. I don’t know what I’m doing….” My prayer continued in that vein for a bit, until I determined to be still and refocus my thoughts. I was then able to pray: “Help me reign in those worries and turn my thoughts back to You. You are enough. You are good. You know what my family needs. I trust You.”
And so we departed for India last November with more books than usual in our luggage. Over the last five months, the recommended reading resources have proved to be wonderful tools for both of our daughters who are beginning to read and for me as I homeschool them. As they are learning, I too am learning much in this process. As my mind circles back to those years ago when I first saw children struggling to read at the Children’s Home, I can now see God’s goodness in entrusting my daughter and our family with this additional challenge. Through this experience, I’m learning how to better advocate for children with diverse learning abilities and styles. Please pray with us that, as we settle into the new building, we can find just the right tutor for our children with special educational needs.
By: Dana Mollhagen