It truly does take a village to raise a child

Published 9:46 am Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Those of you who know me well know that my family is one of the most important parts of my life.

My husband and I have two children, and I will be the first to admit that raising children can sometimes be a challenge — but it is also rewarding.

There is not a better feeling than seeing your children grow and develop, overcome challenges and learn new skills, and I am constantly amazed at the new things my children are learning.

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They have come so far.

My youngest child, Landon, is 3 years old.

He attends a special education preschool at Brookside Education Center three days a week.

From a young age we realized that Landon wasn’t progressing the same way as other children. He didn’t walk until close to 2, and now at almost 3 1/2, he just recently began to master walking up and down stairs.

While most other children his age are speaking clearly in full sentences, Landon is just beginning to piece words together and still often communicates through other means.

When he was only a week old, he started having seizures. He was flown from the Albert Lea emergency room to Mayo Clinic in Rochester and underwent multiple tests. After spending four days there, we left without many answers.

Since then, Landon has had two more episodes of seizures, and his doctor placed him on anti-seizure medication more long term.

After going through another blood test last fall, doctors determined that he has a small deletion on part of one of his chromosomes. This is important because this chromosome is tied to neurological function and may be the reason behind the seizures and the delays Landon has faced.

As a parent, I was happy to finally get some answers but was also crushed to find out that these delays are probably something that is going to affect my little boy more long term. His doctors have said he will most likely go through school needing extra help and it is too soon to tell if he will ever be fully caught up with his peers or if he will be affected by this the rest of his life.

Why am I telling you all of this?

As we have been trying to figure out how to best help Landon, I have met some amazing people. I want to publicly thank his teachers and the staff in the early childhood special education program in Albert Lea who have taken the time to reach out to my son and to use their education and training to help him grow.

I was literally moved to tears a few weeks back to see him do something as simple as jump on a trampoline in his classroom. He just started there in January and is overcoming his fears. Then just last week, it was a huge deal to see him — without any prompting — to walk down the stairs on his own with one hand on the railing.

I am amazed daily to see all that he is learning, and I know that a lot of the success he is seeing is thanks to these educators.

As I continue down this road as a parent, I can see clearly that it truly does take a village to raise a child.

Thanks for being that village.


Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. Her column appears each Tuesday.