The Amazing Ethan

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Ethan had a great 2015.

Yes, he still continues to have his struggles, but he also continues to have his triumphs.

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He loves to cook, and he is always the first one in the kitchen whenever I need a helper.

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He is learning how to utilize his iPad more and more for communication and academics, and he is learning more sign language, as well. He can still approximate words.  However, he has become lazier at it because of knowing that he has other back-ups (iPad and sign).

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However, his speech and academics are so not what makes Ethan who he is as a person. His heart takes care of that.

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He truly is a breath of fresh air every single day.  His smiles still light up the room, and his laughter could (and should) create world peace.

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He is his family’s number one fan.  He is always there to support his siblings during soccer games.  Actually, even when it is freezing, we cannot convince him so stay at home.  He loves Gabriel and Summer with all of his heart, and he would do absolutely anything for them.

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When I think about his future, I am only certain of two things.  He will continue to guide this family with his magic, and we will continue to know that he is absolutely good and perfect in every single way.

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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.