Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Pardon me while I puff out my chest with pride

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???

23 comments:

furiousBall said...

awesome, way to go all of you

Cocotte said...

You can't imagine how timely this was for me to read. I lay awake nights worrying about what will become of my middle child, currently 16. I wish our public school had the opportunity that you talk of. Unfortunately, they do, but it is for the very low functioning kids only. She falls somewhere in the middle - has always been in inclusion classes, but lacks social skills and common sense for the "real world."

Anyway, I rejoice in your son's success. Those who have typical kids cannot comprehend how huge those small steps are. Congrats!

Holly Nappi Collins said...

Oh, Em, that was such a great story...I hope my son has the same advantages through his school--I will be inquiring when he's in high school. An internship is such a great experience, too, and he got to try what he loves.

Star said...

This was the best post I have read in quite a while. Congratulations to Son 18, and you as well.

dana wyzard said...

Boast away lil' mama!! He deserves the accolades!

Just Another Girl said...

Awwwww, Em, I got goosebumps reading your story. That is truly awesome. I'm so happy for you and I love hearing stories like this, good stories. I'm also extremely happy for son18 because with all this positiveness (is that even a word) it's bound to do wonders for him. (((((HUG)))))

barefoot gardener said...

Congrats to Son18!!!

I think it's cool to shout from the rooftops when you are proud of your kids.

Mama Mara said...

My heart is beating out of my chest, I'm so excited by this report on Son18!

And dude, I'd love it if I received a winter newsletter in which someone reported "a better IEP meeting than last year." Why not?

Charlotta-love said...

You send those Christmas cards. Way to go Son18!

Em said...

Thanks so much for all your comments! It has been a special moment for us.

Cocotte - nice to know it was timely. I love reading a post just when it touches something I'm also dealing with

Holly - absolutely explore every option...but I already know you will

Dana...thanks for visiting. Just so you know, I'm the little dad...but I'm secure enough that you can call me "lil' mama" if you want. :)

Tanya @ Teenautism said...

Em, that is some truly wonderful news! Half a dozen bylines - wow! Doing phone interviews? Incredible! Not only did he get to do something he enjoyed, he excelled at it. Rock on, Son18!

Jazz said...

That's so great!!! Congratulations to him.

Kati said...

*Grin* That's FABULOUS Em!!!! And while it's certainly fabulous that your son has overcome some of the issues that might have stood in his way, I think what makes it even MORE fabulous is that there are plenty of teens/high-schoolers out there that DON'T have the actual medical concerns your son has had to deal with, and STILL cannot pull off successes like these! Your son has now accomplished a lot not just for those with disabilities, but even for those of his generation WITHOUT disabilities. You have all rights to be undeniably proud of your son.

I hope he is as deservedly proud of his accomplishments and is able to succeed as well in the college English courses y'all are now looking foward to.

Ruth Dynamite said...

I love this for so many reasons, but most of all for the pride your son must feel. (Not to mention YOU!)

citizen of the world said...

Yay! I'd gop ahead and write that part of the Christmas letter anywya, and have it ready to go next December.

And, she asks as if psychotic, where in Mississippi?

Rebecca said...

That is fabulous. In these times, good news is especially precious. I would LOVE getting a letter like that any time of the year. Maybe you can send that news in some February Valentines cards......

creative-type dad said...

That's awesome! I would be bragging too if I were in your shoes.

Kylie w Warszawie said...

So he just loves everything he does? That's totally awesome!

Congrats on his success!

Mrs. Chili said...

This is wonderful!

Often, it's not about the "special needs;" it's about finding that just-right spot and having it populated by people who are able and willing to be good mentors! I find that a lot of my success isn't necessarily about my skill, it's about my luck. I'm happy some good luck is coming your way, too.

whimsical brainpan said...

You should be thrilled! You have an amazing son.

Holly said...

That's so cool! Way to go, Son18! All high schools ought to offer that program. What an amazing opportunity for job experience, confidence, maturity, resume-building, everything.

jeromine said...

Hi Nice Blog .I think HR understands the importance of other people tracking time--IT, Lawyers, non-exempt employees, but struggles with the idea of phone time card.

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