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Gemma sat back in her rocking chair and paged through her photo album, her eyes lingering on the face of her youngest son and his family. Her fingers traced his toothless grin and she smiled. He had made it after all.

Cooper had been born perfectly healthy until he’d had an immunization that went terribly wrong. Gemma had learned later that their health district had been a test area for a new and unknown vaccine. She could count herself fortunate that her son had come out alive, others hadn’t. He had not been unscathed. Cooper had developed a fever, a very high fever and was hospitalized. He came home only to go right back again when the fever returned, even higher. When she and her husband Tom brought him home he was not the bright, happy eleven month old they had taken in.

Cooper had sustained brain damage from the prolonged, intense fever. Gemma and Tom had to work hard to re-teach him how to sit, grasp a toy and to recognize his family. It wouldn’t be until he was older that they would learn that he now had a learning disability and that his teeth had been affected by the fever.

It had taken Cooper two years longer to graduate than other kids but he had. He got his journeyman’s ticket for welding, too. These were incredible feats for a child that was told by educators that he wouldn’t make it and would never amount to anything. Suffering with learning impairments and dyslexia made school very difficult but Cooper was determined and with the help of family and a few teachers that wanted him to succeed he made it.

Cooper is married to his second wife and has two grown children and a grandchild as well as two stepchildren. He has been able to have a steady job as a welder for the majority of his adult life. While his ability to read is hampered his family is supportive and he has definitely ‘amounted to something’ despite the critics.

**If you are new here you might want to know that this post is part of a series on hidden disabilities. I am going to be continuing this series for all of October as part of the 31 Days Challenge. You can see all of the amazing topics over at The Nester’s! To go back to the beginning of this series click on the Alphabet Soup tab and you can see the indexed list of chapters.


About Lani

With six kids, a farm, a ministry and dreams poking out in every direction I need plenty of grace to keep all the balls in the air. The sweet thing is that when I drop them, that crazy grace of God is there telling me I'm still okay...and you are, too...welcome to this place of grace.

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