In a recent post by molly_g over at Soapy Water, she discussed the difficulties she and many other families experience each year as holiday letters pour into our mailboxes with the obligatory shout-outs about the successes of their little munchkins. And like molly, I love our family and friends and feel good about their kids...but it is sometimes hard when our best news of the year might be "a better IEP meeting than last year".
And we get this same experience every Sunday at church. We have a time for sharing that often boils down to a series of parents standing up to mention their kid making honor roll or getting some scholarship to some awesome university. I feel good for them...but I also wonder about the successes we'll maybe share one day about Son18.
So I figure, when something good happens, I'm not holding back! And this is one of those times.
As part of his school program last year and this year, we've included a Community Work Experience class. This teaches the kids how to fill out job applications, write a basic resume, etc. But it also actually sets the kids up do to internships at different places in the community.
Last year, for about 12 weeks, Son18 did his first internship at one of the local elementary schools as an aide to the kindergarten teacher. It was basically a job where he would make copies, clean glue off tables, etc. For us, it was more about the opportunity to branch out socially and work around people that he didn't know.
He thrived. The teacher loved him. The kids loved him. And by the end of the year, not only was he sweeping up glitter after the craft activities, he was actually working with small groups of kids who needed extra help practicing their new reading words! It was a great experience for him.
So we get to this school year. This time his internship was going to be more tailored to what he likes. Son18 loves reading and writing so he was set up as an intern at the local newspaper. Again, the job was initially set up to include typing (do they still call it typing?) PR notices from local businesses that would go into the paper.
He loved it. He would inquire about all sorts of things he saw and heard in the newsroom. He progressed to typing articles. He learned to do phone interviews. He learned to operate the database software that archives every article in the history of the paper. He learned the basics of the software used to layout the paper.
At the end of his 9-week internship, his supervisor felt he was doing so well and learning so much, she asked if he could stay for an extra 9 weeks!
He did. And it was incredible. Not only did he continue to learn, he ended up with more than half a dozen bylines!
He finishes that job tomorrow. He will walk away with a portfolio of his writing, an evaluation that says he ended up doing the same work that they usually assign to the college interns, a letter of recommendation that the assistant editor insisted on writing, and encouragement by the newspaper staff for him to use the partnership between the high school and the local community college to begin taking college English courses at the college as part of his senior year in high school next year.
We are thrilled. Proud. And yes, I'm outright boasting! But when you have a kid with pretty complex special needs you gotta do it when you get the chance!
I wonder....is it too early to send next year's Christmas letter now???