Monday, December 13, 2010

Our First Graduation Day!

In January of this year, we took Jared for a communication evaluation that changed our world as the words "Autism Spectrum Disorder" were used to describe Jared's speech delay. A very close friend helped us connect to Mary Pellegrino. Ms. Mary confirmed that Jared had a significant delay in his expressive language but did not have any concerns regarding Autism. She recommended Jared begin speech sessions 2x per week. On February 1 of this year, Jared started his speech 'classes.'

Daddy has been feeling under the weather for a few days. On Monday, he called in sick! That means that Mommy gets to call in sick to work and stay home with the boys. Monday is a very busy day for the boys as Jared has speech in the morning and then the boys have Musikgarten class at 12:10pm. When Daddy told me that I needed to stay home, he asked me if he should call and cancel Jared's speech. Huh? I told Daddy, even though I am a substitute parent for the day, I was able to follow the curriculum.

Our first stop of the day was speech class. I managed to get everyone to the speech appointment on time. The boys have collectively enjoyed going to speech for some time. The sessions initially focused on Jared only. Once Jared began to blossom, his sessions included one of his brothers. This was to help build Jared's confidence and improve his ability to assert himself with his highly dominant and assertive brothers.

When we arrived, the boys saw Ms. Ashley, Jared's 'teacher' in the waiting room. Ms. Ashley informed me that she would not be with the boys today as I was going to meet with Ms. Mary to review Jared's recent testing. When Ms. Mary came out, she brought all of us back to her office. She immediately handed me his evaluation and told me that Jared has surpassed all of the goals they had for him and she was going to recommend a follow-up evaluation in 6 months. It took me a second to realize that she had just informed me that Jared was being discharged.

I had to catch my breath as my mind flashed back to just over 10 months ago when I sat with her in the same office thinking that my child was going to struggle with Autism. Now, I sit here with an evaluation in hand that shows his expressive language scoring at the age equivalent of 3 years and 3 months when he was evaluated at 2 years and 6 months. In January, is expressive language was 10 months when he was 21 months old. It is amazing at how far he has come in such a short period of time!

As this meeting came as a surprise, I am so happy that I was there with him on this day! It was GRADUATION DAY! After I regained my composure, we talked about all the boys and how wonderful they are.... I must agree! Ms. Mary gave all of the boys books before we left and I was able to take a picture of the boys with Ms. Mary.

Jared saw a few different 'teachers' at Ms. Mary's during his time with her. His primary 'teachers' were Ms. Cara and Ms. Ashley. Ms. Cara was his first teacher and the one that he initially warmed up too and started to talk. When she took another job, he transitioned to Ms. Ashley. As all the boys started participating in the sessions with Ms. Ashley, they all knew and enjoyed playing with Ms. Ashley. Here are the boys with Ms. Ashely...

After receiving such good news, I decided we needed to CELEBRATE! Daddy was home sick so I was on my own to celebrate. Instead of heading home for breakfast, I decided to take the boys out to breakfast..... in a restaurant.... by MYSELF!!
We had breakfast at the Village Inn. We attracted a lot of attention but had a very pleasant breakfast. The boys were on their best behavior and we enjoyed our time together. I am sure that Daddy also enjoyed resting at home with the house nice and quiet. The big treat for my graduate was a nice mug of Hot Chocolate!
I am so thankful that we were able to get Jared the help to find his words when he was very young. He enjoyed his speech 'classes' and had a lot of fun over the past 10 months. He never felt pressured and was so young that he enjoyed the one on one time without realizing what was really happening. We now have this phase of our life behind us. Jared is so smart and I am pleased that he is able to share his thoughts with us.

We love you Jared and are so very proud of you!

Happy Graduation!

Take care,

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