‘Your handwriting is a complete disgrace.’ I was livid! ‘This should have never happened.’: Mom and daughter with learning disabilities speak out against mistreatment, ‘Respect instead of judging’

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“I’m a mother of a beautiful daughter named Jordan, who was born premature (6 1\2 weeks early) because of a drunk driver who was also on drugs. I was born with cerebral palsy because of a medical mistake. My daughter is a lot like me in some ways. We struggle with learning disabilities and small motor skills. Although my disabilities are more visible, if you really got to know my daughter, you would discover her struggles.

When she was born, the hospital was not equipped for premature babies. Even though they could have transferred me, they chose not to. The ambulance service was completely busy that morning, at 2:45 a.m., and they were unable to pick her up. For four to five hours. She was lacking oxygen because her lungs were not developed, nor were her female parts, completely.

Once transferred, she was in the NICU for quite a while. She had premature lungs, pneumonia, jaundice, swallowing and sucking issues, and a whole in her heart. She flat lined two times for five minutes each. Once she finally met her weight and went through all the protocol for going home, we were able to leave.

She continued to have swallowing and sucking issues, but the doctors refused to see that. I had to deal with it alone because my husband worked, and we also had a 10-year-old son. We had many choking issues after swallowing formula, and eventually, at one years old, choking on food issues. At 4 1/2 years old, she was diagnosed with swallowing and chewing issues. The biggest thing they discovered, was she had a stroke when she was born. The signs were there, but we hadn’t been able to prove it.

We found an amazing neurologist and pediatric specialist from then on. Until she learned to swallow and chew, she was on a blend and liquid diet. She had choked on food before, which led to not breathing for a few minutes. Her small motor skills, mouth issues, partial hearing loss, and eyesight problems were affected by being a premature baby.

From a little girl who couldn’t even write one letter in kindergarten, she has made leaps and bounds throughout the years. Now 17 years old, she has a home school program teacher who told her that her handwriting is the worst he’s ever seen and a complete disgrace. She felt very depressed, and luckily her relationship with me was close. She got in the car very upset and told me. We got home and cried together because I went through the same situation in school.

Jordan is a A’s and B’s student. She has an IEP (Independent Education Program), and we’d just had a meeting two weeks prior to this. In the Zoom meeting, her teacher said, ‘It’s all in her head. I can teach her how to write properly; it’s just pure laziness. You know how teenagers can be.’ Nobody, from what I could tell, caught what he said. I spoke up, and they said they would have to schedule another meeting to finish the IEP.

When she got in the car yesterday, the homework he gave her for an 11th grader was degrading — a packet of the ABC’s to practice capital and lowercase letters, along with single words. I was livid! I called her special education teacher, and I couldn’t have gotten a better response.

They apologized over and over, then told her not to do the homework. The school psychologist and special education teacher said, ‘I’m so sorry! This should have never happened. We are so shocked, as well as sorry.’ Then, they thanked her for her bravery.

But, as her mom, I just wanted them to be aware some kids won’t speak up. They usually get depressed and overwhelmed with anxiety. I have known friends who took their lives over the treatment they got from adult authorities who didn’t think before they talked about students who struggle with handwriting and other subjects in high school. This is not the first time I’ve experienced this. I have seen mistreatment to others with learning disabilities.

The best thing out of all of this, is I listened to my child and didn’t judge her. I gave her the floor to use her voice and respected her instead of judging her actions. Do you know what really matters the most? The love and bond I have with my daughter.”

Courtesy Charlotte Lozano

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Charlotte Lozano. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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