Tuesday, July 12, 2011

My little man!

I have been thinking through this post for awhile now, I want it to be perfect!
I am very excited to tell you about this little guy!
 I want to introduce you all to someone that is very very special to me! 

This little boy, in the last year, had such an impact on my life and has taught me some great life lessons!
I really am a different person because of meeting him and having him in my life!
This is Bosa Olotu!
This past year he was in my 1st grade class!

First off, there are some things you need to know about Bosa!
When he was younger he was diagnosed with Autism. 
He was not a normal child at all. 
His parents were very concerned and they talked to "doctors" and "psychologist" who basically 
gave them no hope.
They enrolled him in a school where he..never had interaction with other kids and was just left to himself.
They said he would never be normal.
You see until he was 5 years old, Bosa had never talked!
Because of this, his parents really had no hope. They had a son that couldn't talk and "doctors" saying this was the way it was going to be.

His Mom told me she would pray everyday that he would start talking.
She felt like if he started talking there might be hope for some normalcy in his life!
Finally, a little after he turned 5 he started saying words and before long he was talking away!!

This was when his parents started looking for other answers!
They found Bethel Christian Academy and at the age of 7, Bosa enrolled into the Kindergarten class at our school!!

When he came to our school, he couldn't do anything....including...
reading...writing...alphabet...and even go to the bathroom by himself!
Now, I can't take any of the credit for this part because this was the year before I met him!
Let's just say the Kindergarten teacher at our school is amazing and she worked soo hard with Bosa!!
Of course, he is no where near the others in his class but Bosa came into 1st grade knowing how to read, write, do simple math, and yes, use the bathroom on his own (which I am very thankful for)!! :) lol 

As you can see from the pictures, Bosa is quite the character!
He was the one that brought excitement to our classroom every day!!
His autism, of course, set him apart from the rest of the class in his academics but the other children always treated him right and normal. They had such a love for him. Even though it was VERY obvious he was different than them, as well as, a couple of years older.
It was such a joy to see this. 
When Bosa would have a "Bosa moment"...instead of laughing at him, it was almost like they understood.
They would look at me and smile, as if to say, ya we know..it's Bosa! 
They loved him so much and he loved them!!! 
This made part of my job much easier!

I don't even know where to begin on the struggle that I had with Bosa this year.
First off, the positive is that he is a very lovable kid.
He is happy and wants to be good and obey and responds very well when you discipline him!
He ALWAYS wanted to please me, if he thought I was at all upset with him he would get these HUGE tears in his eyes and say.."I'm sorry Mrs. Balatbat."..in the sweetest little voice!
But he does have autism.
The REAL autism! 
I say that because some people will use "autism" as a label for their child that has serious discipline issues and isn't truly autistic! 
Bosa is definitely autistic.
This was the first encounter I had with personally dealing with an autistic person one on one.
When I first was told about him, before I met him, I was very very nervous!
It was going to be my first year teaching and as if that pressure and stress isn't enough...
I was also getting an autistic child in my first group of kids. 

I know God did that on purpose.
Bosa taught me SO many things but the biggest lesson that I learned was true PATIENCE!
I spent 8 hours a day for the past nine months with Bosa and I wouldn't trade a second of it.

Even the times when he would roll his eyes and cross his arms and pout...
the time when I left the room for something right after I had disciplined him and I came back in to the entire class telling me that while I was away..Bosa had said very loudly..."STUPID TEACHER!"
ha, yes, this did happen!
when I would give him some type of instruction and his answer would be...
"WHHATTT??" lol

Yes, he did have these moments...but the hardest thing to work with was getting him to concentrate.
If you have had any interaction with an autistic person you know that keeping them focused on one thing for a long period of time is very very hard!
This is when the true patience came in.
Day after day, class after class, minute after minute...my job was to make sure this little boy was learning and in order to learn he had to pay attention to me and listen and then take out his class work and focus on each and every part.
Maybe this sounds simple, but with an autistic person...this is FAR from simple!

For the entire first semester and into the second, until about the beginning of March, I saw very little improvement with Bosa.
It was very very frustrating.
 I honestly, was to the point of just wanting to back off and not push him to do more and do his best...in a way, I wanted to give up!

I kept thinking, I am pushing and pushing this little boy to learn and what if he CAN'T??
I remember one day in our Teacher's meeting, the principal asked if any of us had anything we wanted to talk about and I basically laid it all out there.
I don't think any one of the teacher's knew what a struggle I was having.
It was really really bothering me..
I would have moments when I would have a session with Bosa and I would go back to my desk and I would actually start to cry.
It just seemed like he wasn't getting it....any of it!!

The afternoon after I had the "breakdown" in teacher's meeting. lol
Our principal came to my class after school and we had a great talk! Probably for about 2 hours.
Btw, just a little interjection...the principal at our school is THE BEST!!!
Honestly, I wish every school could have such a great principal and I wish everyone of you had such a great boss! What a good man his is! His heart is totally in it and he loves the Lord!!! He's the real deal!!

Anyhow, during our "Bosa" chat...he basically spent the entire time encouraging me through Scripture and his own life experiences. I went away from that refreshed.
I spent the next several days whenever I had a chance...just praying for Bosa.
No, I'm not going to say that the next day Bosa was totally different and I never had a struggle again...but I know that the Lord gave me an extra amount of patience and from there on out I did see a big change.
The last three months of school were so different. It was like he really had been taking things in all year and he finally started to show me!

I was so proud of him!
Ask anyone, especially my Mom. She was my Bosa go-to person.
She knows every Bosa story...I would even text her during the day if the story was so funny I just couldn't wait! lol
Bosa, is a very special little boy! I really really hope that I had a part in "molding" him this year.

At the end of the year I was informed that Bosa's father had a received a job in TX and they would be moving.
When I heard this, I was so sad! I had already been looking forward to another year with him and thinking/strategizing on how I would teach him some of the more challenging things in second grade.
I have just been praying that his parents get him into a Christian school with a teacher that really cares!
I know he could be a great man someday! He has so much potential! :)

I am sorry this was such a long post and I hope you weren't bored throughout it, but I really wanted to share Bosa with you all. He holds a special place in my heart and I hope I had an impact on him because....

he sure had one on me!! 


Nicole said...

He is a pretty special kid to have had you for his teacher. And I know that he will never forget you or the impact you made in his life. Such a sweet post, certainly wish I could have met him. :)

Natalie said...

What an awesome story Liz! And encouraging too =D

followingsplendor said...

Thank you...this was so very-very sweet.

God is using you! You can't get more exciting than that.

Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord for Bethel Christian Academy and their teachers who give their lives to their students. That was a wonderful post - soooo precious. Love, Mom

Sonja said...

Very nice post, Liz!

Remembering your beautiful wedding, too...It was lovely! Congrats on 1 year!!!

Happy Birthday to Julian tomorrow!

Aunt Sonja
(will we ever get used to that?!) :)

mcauly said...


This post brought tears to my eyes and such joy at the same time. Seeing Bosa's amazing improvement has been a source of joy for my family and I'm very thankful that he had you significantly contribute to getting him to this point. I'm not in CA but each time I'm on the phone with my sis (Bosa's mom), and I overhear him talking I'm always amazed at God's work and grateful for His Favor to have brought people like you into my nephew's life. Thanks so much for sharing this...

I would like your permission to re-post on www.9jamom.com - an online community for Nigerian moms and moms-to-be that I manage... You are a true testament of the different 'moms' that impact our lives each day!

Liz said...

Thanks for the sweet comment! :) I would have no problem with you reposting this! It is nice meeting Bosa's Aunt over my blog! :)
Have a good day!

everydaynuggets said...

Wow what a great story... Left me teary eyed. Thank God for teachers like you Liz.

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