Jumping back into a school routine was not easy, but it also was not as hard as I expected. Monday went great, in part, I believe, because we were all rested and refreshed.
Unfortunately, that only lasted for one day, because we had a severe thunderstorm on Monday night, and it threw us all off for Tuesday. Luckily, it was a half day for Ethan because of Speech Therapy, so he was able to rest during the afternoon.
His speech and communication is definitely progressing. He has added many “B” words – ball, bath, bus. He does tend to drop the last consonant, but he uses the words in context. In addition to his new words (and the above are just a few examples), he also has a much stronger desire to communicate than we have ever seen. When I spoke to his special education teacher on Thursday, she completely agreed.
We are all very excited about his progress this year, and we see many more positive improvements in the coming weeks, months, and years. We likely have some very exciting news that will help our sweet Ethan tremendously. When/if everything is finalized, I will discuss it. I just want to make sure that it all works out first.
I will say this to any parent who has a child with any kind of needs, whether it is because they are language delayed, gifted and talented, sick, etc. Please always remember that you are your child’s best advocate and sometimes his only voice. We have had doctors tell us crazy things. Crazy things. We have been told that if Ethan was not talking by 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 that he would not talk. Well, guess what? Most of his language development has happened between the ages of 5 and present. Do not let a book or a specialist or any negativity determine your child’s future. Never stop fighting for them. Never stop believing in a better future.
We do not know what Ethan’s future holds anymore than we know what is in store for Gabriel and Summer. What we do know is that we will support and encourage them every step of the way. No matter how old they get, I will always be their mom, and I will move mountains for them.
Ethan is currently paving his own path, just as Summer and Gabriel are. When I was registering Summer for Kindergarten, I wrote on her form that Gabriel and Ethan have been paving the way before her, which is true. But, once she starts school, she will start paving her own way, just as Gabriel did and just as Ethan is. Yes, Gabriel’s footsteps lead the way before them right now, but they will all add their prints on this family path, road, journey.
I will not say that there is not some heartbreak along the way. On Thursday, I was quizzed by some children about Ethan. “Why does his eye look the way it looks?” He has a birthmark, and we think that it makes him unique, makes him beautiful. I just simply answered, “It is a birthmark? Do you have a birthmark anywhere?” to which I continued to be grilled by these two six-year olds. “Is that why he talks the way that he does?” I paused and thought about what to say to these children, who were clearly not asking questions out of a desire to know more about my child. I considered explaining what we know about his current diagnosis, but I knew that it would all be way over their heads. And, once again, they really did not care about the real answer. I just simply answered, “No, that is not why.” and continued to swing my sweet boy.
I was a little bit saddened that I could not protect him from mean-spirited children who might try to crush his spirit, and I was talking to his teacher about it at school on Friday. She assured me that no one has ever treated him that way in her classroom, and I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that she was telling me that truth. And, even more than that, I knew that she would never allow it, nor would any of the teachers at our school. As we were talking, I was watching my sweet boy. Class had already started because we were late. That did not phase him one bit. He put up his backpack, got his chair, headed across the room to get his book box, went back to his desk, and started reading his book. It was a small moment, but it was a huge moment, too. Yes, there will be people along the way who try to crush his spirit. There are just those people in the world. But, he is making such strides and definitely paving his own path, writing his own story, and changing, inspiring, and improving lives along the way.