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My Son Has Beaten the Odds!

May 27, 2009

I don’t often discuss too much of my personal life here – not because I have any sort of fixation on privacy, but more due to the fact that this blog really serves as something of a real world diversion for me.  But I just got news that has me so excited and filled with pride that I can’t help but share it.

I have two children, both of whom are boys and diagnosed on the Autism spectrum.  My oldest son, Randy, turned 14 earlier this year and though he functions better than those who are more profoundly affected, he does have his share of significant daily challenges.  Now that he’s hit full-blown puberty, much of what he struggles with has to do with processing his emotions.  He’s doing as well as can be expected, but he will always be in some form of Special Ed throughout the remainder of his schooling.

His younger brother, Brian, will turn seven later this summer.  He’s always seemed to function at a higher level than Randy did when he was Brian’s age.  In fact, we even tried starting Brian out in a regular Kindergarten class when he turned five (literally – the first day of school was his fifth birthday).  Unfortunately, after a couple of weeks, Brian was a bit overwhelmed and the sensory overload was enough to have him placed into a similar Special Ed program as Randy.

My wife and I had previously held onto hope that perhaps he was just developmentally delayed from spending so much time with a moderately Autistic older brother, but this seemed to indicate he was also likely Autistic himself.  We realize other parents face much more profound challenges.  Raising children with Down’s Syndrome, Spina Bifida or other serious disabilities certainly is a much greater hardship, so we definitely feel blessed that our children are relatively healthy.  Even so, Brian’s removal from his mainstream Kindergarten class was quite a blow to us.

Over the past two years, Brian has absolutely thrived during his time in Kindergarden and First Grade.  Though not permanently in a mainstream class with the so-called “regular” kids, his program has been structured to allow him to spend significant amounts of time each day with those kids in the “normal” classroom environment.  He has shown off what he has learned at school by performing many amazing feats at home, many of which involve his incredible computer proficiency.  We call him our little hacker.  Also, he’s been reading at an advanced level, though his comprehension is lagging just slightly.

Anyway, as each school year comes to a close, district officials meet with my wife to discuss the upcoming year’s plans for each of our sons.  Brian had done so well this year, there had actually been some preliminary talk of him repeating First Grade, but this time in the “regular” class.  Imagine our surprise and unlimited joy to learn that the district officials have actually recommended not only to transition him out of Special Ed, but to so do as a SECOND GRADER!

While it’s still almost a certainty that he remains somewhere on the Autism spectrum, it definitely looks as if he is developing into enough of a high-functioning level that he could very well end up leading virtually as normal a life as the rest of us.  Two years ago, it seemed this dream was dashed forever.  Now, hope springs anew!

Both Brian and Randy continue to amaze us with their progress and their resiliency.  And, at least for now, Brian has miraculously beaten the odds.  We are eternally grateful that our prayers have been answered.  If you have kids – no matter their age, condition or anything else – don’t take them for granted and never, ever stop believing in them!

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2009 2:32 pm

    Great news, Bob. Gives me even more hope for my nephew who faces the same challenges.

  2. Rachel Ayala Castro permalink
    May 28, 2009 8:33 pm

    Bob, Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. Being a retired school teacher, I can really appreciate how rewarding this is.
    Yes, never stop believing in your children and in yourself. Your family is in my prayers. Love and blessings, Aunt Rachel

  3. Sheila permalink
    May 27, 2009 11:47 pm

    I’m so happy for Brian. I work in an early childhood special education classroom. We have 8 students and we do a blended classroom, with a Pre-k class with 13 students. All The kids on our roll learn so much from their peers. The kids who are a little bit behind or who have trouble socializing learn so much by watching and copying a typical 4 year old. The HEB district also has blended kindergarden program.

  4. Kelli permalink
    May 27, 2009 10:46 pm

    That’s great, Bob!

  5. Bridget Harris permalink
    May 27, 2009 5:24 pm

    This is wonderful. My own boys have struggled this year, and I’m reassessing their educational options. Thanks for the glimmer of hope.

    • May 27, 2009 8:32 pm

      There’s ALWAYS hope!

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