Updated: Apr 7, 2020
*Most authors for this blog series have chosen to remain anonymous in order to protect the confidentiality of their children while still sharing their story. Documenting our stories helps us process our experience, sharing our story helps us connect to others with a shared experience, and reading others' stories helps us not feel so alone. Welcome.
Moving On Up
Without George, there would’ve been no move to Raleigh.
Without autism, there would’ve been no getting kicked out of the private school (red flags! he’s different!), and there would’ve been no Bridges and Beyond preschool (Kate, Lori, and our Cynthias), or Kim at Jeffrey’s Grove special needs pre-K. Without Kim, there would’ve been no recommendation to Douglas Elementary.
Without autism, we would’ve gone along fine, still with bumps in the road, but different bumps, and I know for a fact, we would’ve grown complacent and taken things for granted. Having friends, eating in the cafeteria, working in a group, getting from place to place —- these are huge things. We celebrate them.
Without autism, we would never have been introduced and welcomed into the amazing world of special needs families. These parents are warriors while being worriers, but they hide the latter so well.
Without Douglas Elementary, there would’ve been no Craig, the most selfless, fearless special education teacher I have ever met (next to Kim). Without him, there would’ve been no fire lit under not only George, but also Mike and me; a fire which was constantly stoked with challenges George just kept overcoming, as we learned not to be so afraid. Without Craig, there would’ve been no Sarah, or Addison, helping George navigate through his half-days of mainstream kindergarten.
Without half-days, there would’ve been no full days.
First grade was completely mainstream, and we were nervous - we were nervous, but George wasn’t, and neither was his teacher, Maggie. It wasn’t the smoothest year, but he continued to rise.
Without a rocky year, there would’ve been no perfectly wonderful second grade year, and no Emma, who loves every student so fiercely while maintaining her calmness and warmth - George made his first video for her class. Without the confidence gained in second grade, there would’ve been no variety show performance, and without that first one, there would’ve been no bringing the house down three years in a row.
Third grade brought us Amy, and a wonderful group of kids, all of whom danced in our living room on G’s birthday.
Without Kelsey, his fourth grade teacher, there would’ve been no viral video, and we wouldn’t have had the response from the thousands of kids and parents who watched it and identified with it after seeing their own quirks represented in it.
Without his brand-new-to-this-country fifth grade teacher, Paul, there still would’ve been a good year, but not the same kind; his classroom was a scrappy one - in the least-appointed trailer, no cubbies (I TRIED!!!), and lots of kids he didn’t know as well as others. This was such a wonderful group of kids, and thankfully, his BFF (he HAS ONE! Actually MORE than one!) was in there with him.
Without the specials teachers, Susan, Sarah, Wendy, Rockin’ Rouse, and the amazing Ms. Hamilton, who nurtured and celebrated his love and boundless enthusiasm for music, dance, art, drama, and PE, there would’ve been no —— George as we know him.
Without Marvin, who would riff with me as I’d pull into carpool and dance with George whenever and wherever, I would’ve had a little less of a smile on my face in those halls.
Without Shedina, who loved our 5 year-old George like her own and still does, there would’ve been no feeling of ABSOLUTE COMFORT AND TRUST as we dropped him off every day that first year.
Without Kelli, who navigated every twist and turn with him, and has his first safety patrol photo in her office, there would’ve been no relaxing exhale every time something happened on the playground.
He went from being a special education kindergartener who knew no one, to a fifth grader on safety patrol who can match every car to its kid, a variety show highlight, a mathlete, a choral soloist/drummer, a morning news personality, and pretty much the mayor of Douglas.
He is so sad about leaving, so please keep in touch!
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