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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Sailing to College

What has two thumbs and has only one more day of high school?
 My son Thom is a lesson in faith and perseverance.
 He was just two when my chubby, boisterous, yet speechless little cherub was diagnosed with autism.
I was told it was severe.
He would probably never speak, or even be potty trained.
He wasn't going to develop much past where he was that day.
As I always tell parents of special needs kids,
don't listen to a damned thing they tell you about prognosis.
After 3 years at a special school, Thom started at an elementary school with a great autism program. I was encouraged to use a laminated book with velcro backed pictures at home so he could communicate.
I flatly refused. He started talking by 7.
In middle school, he was in regular classes with accommodations and an aid. He was a solid C student.
He started high school completely mainstreamed. I was offered the special needs diploma option.
We didn't take it.
 He's completed driver's ed, designs video games, and his buddies are picking him up from school tomorrow to celebrate at the mall.
You know, like teenagers.
 He's now on the honor roll and headed for college with his siblings in the Fall on a full ride, books included.
 Oh, and he talks, he just sounds a little like Elmer Fudd.
 He amazes me every day, because he never gives up on any challenge, or on himself.
 That boat took some time to build, but it's sailing beautifully now.
And I could not be prouder.


Janelle said...

Your son is very blessed to have you for a mom. Someone who believes in him fully. Congratulations to him on his new milestone!

Mel said...

'k you, stop this maudlin posting, 'cause I look like a fool crying at work. No one here knows that they are tears of joy and understanding of how proud a mum can be.

Congratulations to all of you!

Anonymous said...

Yippy for Thom and for a Mom and family that doesn't have the word "can't" in it. I am proud too, proud to know a family who supported and encouraged Thom to be whatever he wants to be...Big hugs for Thom!

Musings from Kim K. said...

Ok. You needed a tissue alert at the top of this post, Sunny. Congratulations, Thom. Cheers and have fun celebrating at the mall tomorrow!!!

Vonda said...

WOW, how amazing. Congrats to Thom! What a cutie pie!!

Keri {One Mama's Daily Drama} said...

Geez, don't you know that you're supposed to put *tearjerker* at the top of this kind of post? Congratulations to Thom! And to you, for being an awesome mom.

Michelle L. said...

OKay, that blew my tiny mind. What a kid! Thom is an inspiration, I love that boat, and you and your amazing family once again make me feel like anything is possible.

Now when Arwen goes off to college...

Suzie said...

Good for you for knowing that you know your kid better than anyone else and being committed to helping him rise to his full potential!!

Michelle @ Dream Home DIY said...

What a touching tale of perseverance. Congrats Thom on all of your life accomplishments!!

Dharma said...

geez.....Kleenex disclaimers pls

Congratulations Thom. Eventually Mr. Fudd got his wabbit too :) You're amazing dude. Enjoy your prom/ parties and graduation. You earned it.

When your done take your parents out for dinner, they earned it too.

La Vie Quotidienne said...

What a success story! Congratulations to you all, because I think that the whole family contributed to this very, very positive outcome. Cheers to Thom for his acheivements.

Sarah AKA The Thriftress said...

That totally made me cry. Congratulation Thom! I know you will be one proud Momma on graduation day!

Unknown said...

A very inspiring story. Congratulations to you BOTH for having the strength and courage to give adversity the middle finger.

Life in Rehab said...

A little secret? Both of the boys are autistic, and they've agreed to let people know. I find that so many stories of autism are depressing and gloomy. I want people to know that success is out there, reach for it, and never give up. Our mantra here is, never say I can't because of, always say I can in spite of. They can do ANYTHING.

Erika Kolecki said...

I've never commented before, but I had to after reading this! Congratulations Thom! What an inspiration! Best of luck on your adventures ahead!

Anonymous said...

As an Early Childhood Educator of children 3-5 years of age, early intervention is KEY. GREAT JOB MOM!!!! You are welcome for the blog side on my blog site. Decor. Lady's Humble Abode said...

How wonderful that he was lucky enough to get you for a mom- the guy above knew what he was doing. A wonderful story, glad you shared it with us.

lisbonlioness said...

Thanks, Sunny and Thom. 'nuff said.
Nah.. one more thing- I fecking LOVE that boat. Have a blast in college, man, you rock.

Deb said...

Autism, Shmautism. No one should EVER be held back because someone told them they couldn't do or be something. What an amazing mother you are to show your kids the sky is the limit and nothing can stop them. Bravo to you Sunny. Be proud. :)

Carol said...

Way to go, ALL OF YOU! Your whole family must be beaming with pride at the outcome of your dedication. Congrats!


Mikalah said...

This is one of my favorite posts of yours! I'm so glad you didn't take that prognosis to heart. It sounds like your son is an amazing young man with a very bright future ahead of him! Congratulations to you all! =)

Heather said...

What an amazing story! Congrats to Thom and to you. I'm sure he learned from YOU that perseverance and patience pay off. So much to be proud of; congrats to all!

Jane @ The Borrowed Abode said...

I just remembered that I needed to come back and comment on this. I know I said it when we saw you in Florida, but I need to say it again: you are clearly an AMAZING mother. I am so impressed by your "hell no" attitude to Thom's prognosis as a kid, and I think every parent faced with an autism diagnosis needs to know your story! Way to go to you and your whole family!!! xoxo