Sunday, January 13, 2013

New School Year

So Steven is in his second year of preschool. When I went to his IEP meeting at the end of last year, I was a bit disappointed in the goals that his teacher had set out for him, but this is just a lesson in acknowleding the fact that I still have a lot to learn. While special ed teachers do not always know what it is like to be the parent of a special needs child, at the same time, most of us parents do not have the technical skills needed to teach these children in the way that they require. Yes, there are things that they can only learn at home, but there are also many things that they can only learn in the social environment that is school, and there is always going to be a give and take.

To me the goals were pretty simplistic, given what I had seen Steven do. Steven does not talk much, but he can. He's a smart aleck. He will schock you; I tell people, if you find yourself doing a double-take and asking yourself if he said something, nine times out of ten he did. Steven's vocabulary is probably much larger than I can imagine, because the receptive vocabulary is there. Steven understands everything that you say to him. Not to mention, I do not mince words as his Mother. I have never spoken baby talk to my son, and I never will. I use big words with him, and I tell him what I expect of him. I honestly do believe that this has borne fruit. As of today, my son knows how to imitate, match two like items, and identify things based upon description. Add to that progress in potty training, random words and LOTS of affection, and I am heartily pleased with the progress I am seeing.

I am grateful to Steven's teachers.

I saw his very first preschool teacher the other day in the store; we talked and reminisced a bit. Later that evening I sent her some pictures of Steven so that she could see how much he had grown. She said to me that it was so nice to see what she called a "success story" (you can only imagine how awesome that made me feel) for once, instead of parents wide-eyed with shock. I have to say that that was never me. My only concern with regards to Steven's autism has been how he would be treated by his peers. I was not, and never intend to be the parent who plans out my child's life for them. And that is where I think that perhaps some parents do themselves injury. Yes, we plan, we hope and we anticipate when little one is on the way. But that child should be allowed to determine their own destiny. The canvas of their life is blank for a reason, and that is not for us parents to write on it. I am determined not to leave many marks on my son's life past the few influences I leave as a mother. I want him to decide what and who he is to be...and I don't feel that autism is any deterrent at all. Just look at Carly Fleischman.

Last year I did a fundraiser to purchase Steven an iPad. I had seen on the news how much special needs children, especially autistic children, could benefit from the use of an iPad. I wasn't able to raise the amount needed for a new one, but I was able to get a sturdy 1st generation used one, and it works fine. Steven loves it. I hope to turn it into an AAC device for him, in case he still doesn't wish to do much talking for a while. It would be wonderful to know what's going on inside his head. But for now, seeing him do things like this is enough:

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