10.31.2016

Dennis - Micah - DYSLEXIA.

On Saturday, our entire family was up and dressed and climbing into our van at 7:30 in the morning to attend the "Help Me Understand: Walking a Mile in the Shoes of a Student with Special Needs" presentation given by our fearless leader.
We arrived to find tables set up with real linens, a continental breakfast buffet prepared, and a group of cheerful people ready to learn what it is like to live with learning needs 24 hours a day.
What a great way to begin an event!

I knew Dennis would deliver a fantastic presentation because he is an excellent speaker and teacher, and he exceeded my expectation! Even better, he asked Micah to share his personal testimony about living with learning needs. Two perspectives. That of an educator, and that of a student. A perfect combination.
My heart was full, and I was reminded how purposeful the Lord was in placing us together as a family. I do not understand their world, though I have studied and researched and tried to see life through their lens. Until you LIVE it, you cannot fully understand it. But Dennis and Micah get it - they understand the struggles and the frustrations - they speak the same language, and the Lord knew they needed each other.
And He knew they needed me.
I still have much to learn, and more empathy to gain, but I am trying. And I will never stop.

I asked Micah if I could share his testimony so other parents/students might find encouragement through his story, and he said, "Yes! Of course you can, Mom!"
So - here it is.
We had no idea what Micah needed when he was little, but the Lord opened our eyes exactly when we needed to see ... and He has been faithful to teach, prepare, encourage, rebuke, and support us ever since. There have been difficult days, regrets, sorrow, and days we felt like we failed him in every way, but the Lord reminds us time and again that He created Micah "fearfully and wonderfully," He is the one who fills in the gaps we leave behind, and He will never stop working on our son until He has completed His work in him. Micah's future is secure because He belongs to an amazing God who has Kingdom plans for his life.
Praise the Lord for such a promise!

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Greetings one and all. My name is Micah Eastman and I have dyslexia and mild A.D.H.D.

I remember there was once a time that I dreaded to pick up a pencil. There was a time when I felt I would never amount to anything in life because I thought everyone else was brighter than I was. Even today, a single math problem might as well be an attack on Bunker hill.

When I was around the age of 7, I spent the week with some friends when my mom was sick. They were still in the midst of their school year so I went to their private school for the equivalent of a week, and to this day I still consider it one of the most humiliating experiences of my life.

I was placed in the third-grade class where they were discussing things I had not learned yet. In my mind, they might as well have been splitting the atom. I blankly stared at the worksheet pages as tears of frustration welled in my eyes. Accepting the fact that I could not do the homework, I would sit and bounce my knees to the timing of the very annoying ticking clock above the door. They handed me a Sonic the Hedgehog video game from McDonald's and told me to just sit off to the side and listen to their interactive conversations. In fact, it was that moment that my self-confidence began to drop.

Reading was no easier. I would sit for an hour reading a “See Tom Run” book while my mom patiently waited for me to finish, and I would begin to cry during every writing assignment because I could not connect the pen to my brain. My mom continued to push me to be proficient in reading and math, while in the back of her mind she was probably wondering “What in the world could be wrong?” My speech was quite loquacious, leading my mom to believe that I was being lazy.

Starting at the age of six, my only outlet was music. My dad owned an extensive collection of music ranging from the early 60's till the late 80's and quite frankly I could not get enough of it. While holding a Leap pad Learning System, I hummed along to “Help” by the Beatles and “Won’t get Fooled Again” by the Who. I am grateful that my dad forgot to put away his CDs that day because if he had, I have a feeling I would not be the musician I am today. My love for music grew as I learned how to play guitar and drums, giving me a chance to thrive on my creativity as it was the one thing that I was naturally good at. When I play drums, it is the only time I feel free. There is no criticism, no shame. Later in my teens, I discovered the fantastic lyrical art of rapping and hip hop which allowed me to encase my emotion into poetic banter.

When I was 9, my brother Caleb was tested for severe dyslexia and we discovered why I was struggling. I was diagnosed with dyslexia as well. Actually, five of the six of us children are dyslexic, which is not surprising since it is genetic.

I always excelled in anything historical but my educational prowess ended there. It was during my U.S. history class, taught by my enthusiastic father, that I discovered a small enjoyment for writing. I also took a creative IEW class that discussed The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and one of my assignments was to portray a child trying to survive the London Air Raids. It was at that moment I realized I could finally make something of this thing called writing. The assignment was supposed to be four pages long, but I created what I thought was a nine-page masterpiece instead. As I continued to write music and get my thoughts on paper, the more I fell in love with writing, even though as a child I would have rather eaten liver than write one sentence.

From then on I began not only to write my own music, but movies, stories, and sports stories that mimicked that of Sports Illustrated. Now I am currently chasing the dream of being a professional musician or sports columnist.

The Lord has used my dyslexia for good even though I used to think of it as a curse. School is still very hard for me. What takes an hour for one student takes me two or three hours, but he Lord is teaching me patience and perseverance through dyslexia, and I’ve come to consider it a privilege.

Thank you for letting me share with you.

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