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Ethan’s Progress Report

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I have been up since 2:30 AM with thoughts swirling in my head.  Good thoughts.  Happy thoughts.  Thoughts about Easter weekend and family and work.  Thoughts about my Ethan.

Now it is crunch time.  The calm before the morning storm.  Thankfully, the littles and I have a routine now, and we usually make it through the morning without any major obstacles. Note that I said, “usually.”  I try not to use words like “always” or “never”.  Those words are absolutes, and I believe that there are few things that are absolutes.

One thing that I absolutely do know, however, is that Ethan is a rock star, and I could not let the morning slip away without finally sitting down to write a very quick progress report.

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Here is the truth about my Ethan.  He is smart.  Very smart.  We all know it.  However, with his apraxia and dyspraxia, sometimes it is hard to express all of the things that he knows or understands, and some things are harder for him than they are for other children.  Writing, for example, is often a struggle.  He can write his name and letters and numbers like a champ. However, he really has to concentrate, and he tires very easily.

When it comes to understanding and connecting dots, though, Ethan is brilliant, which is the whole point behind this very quick post.  Ethan’s private speech therapist is testing Ethan in preparation for his ARD in a few weeks.  She started with his receptive language skills.  The test is made up of 12 words, and you have to understand the meaning of about half of the words in order to keep progressing to the next level.  The levels are determined based on age.  The test is administered by telling the child the word and showing them four pictures.  The child points to the picture that defines the word.  Many of the pictures are closely related so that the test is accurately determining a true level of understanding. Last Thursday, Ethan’s therapy session was over as he had just finished the 9-year old words.  On Monday, he was able to test all the way up to a 13-year old!  He knew words such as detonate and dissect.  To say that we were amazed and impressed would be an understatement.

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Each time I think of Ethan’s progress, I get chills, get tears in my eyes, smile, and/or all three.  We are so, so proud of him.  I was talking to a mom on Friday who was beaming with happiness about Ethan’s progress.  She has a child who struggles with some areas of learning, as well.  She understands that we are proud of all of our children.  We celebrate the ones who fight hard to maintain an A average, and we equally celebrate the ones who scrape and claw their way through mastering each and every IEP goal.  It is all about understanding that we are all the same, but we are all different.  We are all capable, but sometimes, well, actually, now is the appropriate time for an absolute…all of the time, we just need to know that someone is fighting for and with us, someone is in our corner, someone is our biggest cheerleader, and someone will be there at the finish line whenever we accomplish big, (or small) amazing, incredible things.

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Ethan’s Progress Report

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I know that it has been awhile since I have written a progress report for my sweet youngest boy. Life has just been busy.  Good…but busy.

As I sat here this morning, though, I knew that I simply must write a short post because last night, as we completed homework, I was beaming.  I had Ethan kiss his brain five times.  He was beaming.

Gabriel was watching Ethan in awe, and as soon as he finished his work, he gave him the sweetest, most sincere, heartwarming hug.  Yes, big brother was beaming, too.

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And, when Sean arrived home, I could hardly let him put away his things before I had Ethan showing off his skills, which then had Papa beaming, as well.

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To say that it was a great night would be an understatement.

Ethan is shining.  He is learning sign language, which is helping him continue to learn to read. Last night, there were two things that had everyone so excited.  The first one was his worksheets that always have a word or matching phrase.  Ethan completes the worksheets and then writes his name at the top of the paper, without any prompting.  Gabriel could literally not believe what he was seeing.  I think that I enjoyed watching Gabriel’s reaction just as much as I enjoyed watching Ethan so confidently complete the homework by himself.

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The second thing that had everyone so excited was the reading passages that Ethan had to read. He was signing the words faster than he could approximate them.  We usually make him slow down so that the signs are more accurate.  Last night we did not stop him.  He was a little boy on a mission, and he knew exactly what he was signing and saying.  It was beautiful.

I literally have teachers who stop me to tell me what a break through year Ethan is having.  In the past, Ethan would not say much or make eye contact if someone who he did not know well tried to talk to him. We think that he did not want them to know that he could not speak clearly.  That does not stop him now.  He knows what he is saying.  He knows that he has a voice.  And, if someone wants to have a conversation with him, he is all about letting his sweet voice be heard.

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At Gabriel’s birthday party last weekend, Ethan was so comfortable.  He jumped in the trampoline with the children, he ate at the big picnic tables with everyone, he participated in the nerf gun war with the big kids, and he was right in the middle of the silly string action, as well.  He was just one of the kids, and it was such a beautiful sight.

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I am not sure what makes me more proud.  I do not know if it is the fact that he is soaking up so much information.  Or the fact that he has gained so much confidence in himself this year.  Or maybe even that fact that he knows who he is, and he is determined to let his little light shine. Yes, that is definitely what has to make me the most proud.  We have always told our children that the thing that makes them the most special is that “you are YOU!”  Ethan is really understanding that this year, and that makes this momma’s heart swell with absolute pride.

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Yes, second grade has been good to my sweet boy.  Our teacher was put on this earth to be a teacher.  She entered our lives two years ago, and we are blessed beyond belief to know her and to have her love our children.  She and Ethan are both independently magic in so many wonderful, amazing ways, so, together, they are a force.  A magical, wonderful force.

Ethan’s Progress Report

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I know.  It has been awhile.  I want to get better about posting weekly progress reports.  It is a goal of mine for the new year.  But, remember, we are not celebrating our new year until February 10, so I still have a few more weeks to get organized.  Given the illnesses and the surgery and the craziness around here, we have decided that Chinese New Year will be the fresh, new year for our family.  And, it will be great.

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On to sweet, sweet Ethan.  He is doing great.  Truly great.  We are learning new things about him and about apraxia all the time.  We even found a new iPad app this past week, and his speech therapist is so excited to try out SpeechBox during therapy.

What is truly amazing is how well Ethan is picking up sign language.  We are all learning together, but Ethan is so much better at remembering the words than the rest of us. Through his sign language, he is learning to read.  When his teacher sends home passages for him to read, I am just amazed when Ethan can sign the reading passages to us.  I had him demonstrate it for his general education teacher one day, and the entire class gathered around and cheered for him.  They love him, but they do not always realize what he is capable of until he shows them.  They were so proud of him, and it was such a beautiful moment to witness.

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What I want everyone to know is that Ethan is about so, so much more than his special needs.  He is an amazing son, brother, grandson, cousin, nephew, friend, and student.  He has been blessed with such a gift of kindness and compassion.  When Summer was so sick last week, Ethan was at home sick, as well.  He was feeling better, but he had to stay home since he had fever the night before.  He witnessed her suffering, and it was hard for him.  It was hard for all of us.  This past week when Summer said that her ear felt better, Ethan was the first one to cheer for her.  He knows pain, and he was genuinely happy to know that his sister was not suffering anymore.

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Yesterday, I witnessed something beautiful when I looked out my back door.  Gabriel and Ethan were running laps together.  Every few steps, Gabriel would look back to make sure that Ethan was keeping up and encourage him to keep going.  It took my breath away.  You see, Gabriel and Ethan are only 18 months apart in age.  When we had them so close together, we had hoped and prayed that they would be close.  However, when Ethan had so many delays when he was a baby and then toddler, I admit, I wondered if the boys would ever be the friends, confidants, and play mates that we had hoped that they would be. There was no reason for me to ever worry about that.  When I look at them now, they are honestly even closer than I had ever dreamed that they would be.

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I am so proud that Ethan is my boy.  He is joy, happiness, and love.  I cannot imagine him being anyone other than who he is.  He is capable of great things, and I know that he has an amazing future ahead of him.  I am so thankful that he is mine.

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