Saturday, April 25, 2015

Making a Difference

This world that we live in can be cruel. Day after day, judgments are placed at first glance. Assumptions are made based on a single event. Heads are turned and eyes are rolled. As an autism Mom, I make it my mission to ignore the ignorance (as difficult as it may be) and focus on the beauty that surrounds me. There are people in this world who actually make a difference. People who do so without even trying.

As an autism parent, the most significant struggle that I face is not caring for my son, but advocating for him. Trying to help people understand our world is no easy feat. There are some people who will never understand simply because there is no effort on their part. Others, make my job as advocate effortless. My son's first grade teacher has proven to me that patience, understanding and acceptance are possible for those who make the effort.

As we approach the end of the school year, I am reflecting upon the journey that we have shared. While I am saddened that my boy will be moving on to a new class next year, I have to remind myself that this year has truly been a year of growth. The progress that he has made this year would not have been possible without the love and support of his phenomenal teacher.

Over the course of the year, my son's teacher has not only helped my son but she has truly had an impact on us as a family. She has put up with an endless amount of phone calls, text messages, emails, etc. As an autism Mom, I often question the reasoning behind my correspondence with people. She has never made me feel like the seemingly silly details of his life are unimportant. Anything worth a meltdown is worth communicating. With that said, our home life has always carried over to school. Not only did his teacher accept this with open arms, she incorporated his home life into her classroom.

My son's teacher began incorporating his behavior incentive program (LEGO based) into her classroom (a regular education classroom) very early in the year. When Caiden was rewarded at home, his progress was shared in the classroom. The response was so exciting for both my son and his peers that she started a brand new (LEGO based) program at school inspired by my son and his special interest. The response to this initiative was overwhelming.  She was awarded a grant from a local autism fund to help with the cost of the new program and was recognized in our local newspaper. A selfless act which was well worth the recognition.

Local news doesn't even begin to pay tribute to a woman whom has brought such joy to my heart. The influence she has had on my son is tremendous. The understanding which she has demonstrated has impacted our lives in a way that will never be forgotten.

You see, there are some beautiful people in this world. If we all took the time to just stop and listen, we could all make a difference!

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