I didn’t think anything could top Justin’s great Angry Bird’s birthday party last year….but we are celebrating so many great things this year for Mr. Justin!!
Justin has grown up so much in the past 6 months!! He started some new medication that we feel has really helped him focus more and his tantrums have decreased significantly!!
We thought that was great, and then one day we found out that there was an opening at a local private school in an autism classroom. We were not looking for a school program for him at all….here’s the summed up back story… (We had pulled him from school 4 years earlier after they had physically lost my child at the school---AND couldn’t provide appropriate services for him. We fought the school district, but in the end we found that 30 hours of ABA therapy services from a top ABA provider is what he needed. And I couldn’t handle the stress of trying to prove to the school district what a special kid Justin was and that he had potential and that I wasn’t looking for just babysitting. I felt like I was trying to convince them to love him the way I did and it finally hit me that they would never love him that way, because I was his mom—I WAS HIS MOM!! Those words rang through my head, and for the first time in a long time I believed in myself as a mother. I believed that I could be personally inspired to make decisions for Justin and I ended up feeling directed to pull him from school. It was hard at the time, but I look back now and can see what a turning point that was for Justin and our family. And amazingly, our attitudes changed, there were no more negative feelings and wasted energy on fighting the schools, only positive, proactive energy and celebrating his daily progress no matter how small it seemed. And our hearts changed and became happy again. That’s what ABA did for our family, it taught us how to celebrate every step of Justin’s progress. With that celebrating, we forgot all about school—it just wasn’t on our minds because we were too happy about everything else that was going on to worry about school dreams.)
So when I saw the advertisement for an opening at a private school that we were already familiar with, I wondered if it could work?? I dismissed it for a minute, almost afraid to let myself dream of that opportunity. And then I emailed his ABA Supervisor and asked her if she thought it would work….and after several conversations and meetings….. MY BOY STARTED SCHOOL AGAIN!!! I cried like a baby the night before and the first morning I dropped him off. I cried with joy for a blessing that came our way that I wasn’t even expecting—how great is that!! And then it was like a crazy turn of events as each day I picked up Justin from school and he seemed to be making leaps and bounds of progress every single day. And you want to know the best part of it all??? He LOVES school!! I still cry about it a few times a week, but it’s all happy tears. Here’s my sweet Justin writing the date on the board at school…
I remember when Justin was 2 1/2 years old and I so desperately sought answers to what was wrong with my sweet baby as I watched him rapidly lose skills he had previously gained and sink into his own world—I was so depressed and spent every day researching and crying and wondering, “why is this happening to us?!?!” It was ROUGH!! It’s such a sweet turnaround now, to be crying tears of joy now instead of all those tears of sorrow!!
Looking back at this picture of me with my first baby, so worried about how I could ever protect him and take care of him!! All those sweet fears and worries that every first-time mom carries as she leaves the hospital…I had no idea how challenging my life would become, but I also had no idea how much growth those challenges would bring and the beautiful blessings that would follow. I know that God has blessed us with strength and peace and we have been so blessed by several inspired service coordinators, therapists, friends, church leaders, and family. I love you, Justin!!