Every morning, Kiernan is the first to rise around 6 am. I am quick to follow. We come downstairs and he goes immediately to the computer and I start the pot of coffee. I make breakfast for the family and then pack lunches, for those who take their lunches.
We eat, get dressed for school. Deirdre leaves for the bus and Patrick and I drive the others to the school down the street.
This morning, as I was getting Kiernan to the car, a little boy yells out,"Hi, Kiernan"...Kiernan gets very happy and does his rocking and flapping and buzzing. The little boy tells his father, "Kiernan's funny"....
Kiernan is funny. He is inclusioned in this little boy's class room with an amazing Kindergarten teacher. Mrs. Tina Mello has taught 4 out of 6 of my kids Kindergarten. She does not hesitate to take a non-verbal child into her classroom. She teaches the other children that being "different" can be an asset...not a deterrent.
As we arrive at school, Kiernan decides to walk backwards down the hallway. I decide to join him. As we go down the hall, a little girl runs up to Kiernan and gives him a huge hug. She said, "Good Morning, Kiernan"....again the happy Kiernan dance.
We get to Kiernan's PPCD classroom. He enters and Mrs. Kelli Dominguez is waiting for him. She really adores him, and you can see it in her eyes. That feels good.... Mrs. Kelli came to Kiernan at a time when he really needed someone like her. God sends us Angels all the time. It is up to us to realize it. I hope she knows I realize that.
Kiernan sits down and starts his ABCs...yes, he knows them. He may not say them, but believe me, he knows them. This little boy can read and type anything he wants on the computer. Do not ever sell this child short, because he is non-verbal..
I leave Kiernan with a kiss and go check on Meaghan. She is fine and settled in her classroom. Her teacher, Mrs. Nancy Kuhlman has taught 4 of my children. From Caitlin in her worst days to Meaghan now. She has had every spectrum of our autistic family in her classroom. She has loved all of them. What an exceptional teacher...I don't know what we would do without her.
Next is little Patrick. By the time I get to his class, he is sitting down doing his morning work...diligently as usual. I talk to his wonderful teacher, Emily Carden...I explain that he is in blue jeans and sometimes he needs help zipping. He has some OT issues still. She assured me she would help him....and I know she will. She is so pretty. But, better yet, she is beautiful inside too.
Last stop is Erin. She is in the 4th grade commons and that is in a separate building. I peek my head in her classroom and tell her I love her. Her teacher is Mrs. Kristine Armantrout. She sees so much in Erin. That is important. Erin is the child that will work on something until she masters it. Mrs. Armantrout sees that in Erin. Erin does all of her own work. She is so smart and to top it off, she is the sweetest soul I have ever known. Mrs. Armantrout picked that up the first day she had her. That makes her special to me.
I then walk home. That gives me time to get my thoughts and plans for my day. I also have time to thank God for giving me all of my children. I do not know how I would be happy with even one of them not in my life. I thank God for letting us get as far as we have.
Caitlin is home waiting on the bus. I make sure she gets the bus. She waits outside. Sometimes patiently, sometimes she looks in the window for the time. She hates when the bus is late.
Caitlin was a very aggressive and hyperactive child from Early Childhood to about the 4th grade. When she was in the 2nd grade, she had Mrs. Mary Hutka. Mary taught Caitlin alot of social skills and how one is to behave in the classroom. Mary did not let Caitlin get away with ANYTHING. I believe Caitlin taught Mary what Autism really was. They both learned so much from each other. At the end of the school year with Caitlin, I sent Mary Hutka a gift of wine (to her home of course)...I figured after that year, she deserved it.
You see, Autism does not play a role in our morning routine. Our children function and have responsibilities like any other child.
They each have their chores and know what they are. They are great kids. I owe that to the school teachers and the many therapists in their lives. The people who saw so much potential in our children and who never let them fail at anything. The ones who told me with my first child....untie the apron strings Jeanette, let Caitlin go....let her show you what she is capable of. I am so glad I listened. Because Caitlin taught my husband and myself how to parent an autistic child, she has set the path for our other children. We know to expect no less from the others. And so far, they keep amazing us....
- I am the proud mother of 6 children. 5 of our children have autism. We do not feel our world has ended, but just begun. We do not chelate, intervene biochemically, give shots of any kind, practice ABA, etc. We treat them as we treat any humanbeing. We treat them with kindness and respect and expect the same from them. They are exceptional children.
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