Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Brother

Every girl should be lucky enough to have a brother. Besides my dad my brother was one for my two closest male role models. He is seriously one of the hardest working and bravest guys that I know. The challenges he has faced have been many and yet he pushed through, never gave up and is now a man that any woman would be lucky to have in her life.

My brother faced challenges before he was even born. My mom's amniotic fluid was dangerously low and Z (my brother) was measuring small. The doctors induced labor and my mom gave birth to a 5lb baby boy. His apgars were very low at first and he was pale/yellow. With some careful nursing he bounced back. This may have set the tone for his childhood. In the first grade he was diagnosed with 2 learning disabilities, dyslexia and dysgraphia (reading and writing problems). On top of that he was also ADHD. I know many children are prematurely diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, but my brother was truly battling this disorder. Can you imagine seeing words backwards, having a horrible time trying to write and on top of that lacking the ability to focus! He has such a hard time that my parents made the decision to have him repeat Kindergarten.

We grew up two years apart in age, yet one grade level apart. In the end I think we were both happy to be so close in school. We could help each other and watch out for each other. My mom once said her second job was helping Z get through school. Not because he was a bad student, not because he didn't try his hardest, but because the learning disabilities took such a tole on his self esteem. He would get frustrated, sometimes he would call himself stupid and cry... it was heartbreaking. He could not understand why he had so much trouble with what seemed so easy for everyone else. Don't even get me started on standardized testing. In 9th grade all the students in Ohio were required to take the ERB test. You have to pass this test in order to graduate. My brother's learning disabilities made this task almost as difficult as climbing Mt Everest. He had to train, practice, focus. You could only take it once a year and my brother did not pass it the first 3 years. His senior year we were all praying, hoping and holding our breath. The day we found out he passed I think my mom cried, Z may have too. It was honestly inspirational.
On top of everything else he was small for his age, even being the oldest in his class he was smaller than most of the other boys in middle school and high school. My parents used to give him protein shakes in order to help him gain weight.

In the end my brother grew in every way. He is now a mature and educated man. I am proud to tell you that he not only graduated high school, but went to college! He is now a manager at a landscaping company. Ladies hold on to your butts cause not only did he mature emotionally... he hadgained 40lb of muscle!!

He is kind, generous, caring, loyal and smart. I don't tell him enough how much I admire him, but I do. My brother is pretty much amazing.

I know ads are annoying, but I try to keep them on topic. I have picked out some resources here that may help those dealing with ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia or Dysgraphia.

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