Monday, June 29, 2009

Nicholas is Graduating, Middle School Part 2

Nicholas is Graduating, Middle School Part 2
I can’t believe it's Nicky's graduation day! I jumped out of bed, got Evyn and Nicky ready to go, and ran off to school. I wanted us in line by 7:45 to make sure we got a good seat for the 9:00 am program.

We arrived happy, anxious, and just in time. I reached into my purse to find that I had forgotten the tickets. DUH!!! I dropped off Nicky and his therapist, and asked Evyn to stand in the line that was already forming. A few minutes later, my cell phone rang and Nicky's therapist said "An administrator said "He can't graduate in that!" Seems the suggestion that the kids wear a plain white shirt was in fact not a suggestion, but a mandatory dress code. Flustered, I got home found the tickets and looked to see if any of his white shirts were plain enough. (Note to self...stay calm) A few minutes later, his therapist called to say his teacher had a shirt, and he was being dressed "in code." I drove back to school irritated that he could not wear the incredibly handsome blue shirt and white vest that looked so good on him. Realizing that this frustration was really about me, my feelings and not Nicky, I decided to let it go and enjoy the day.

So I let go and let myself enjoy the ceremony. The graduation was phenomenal. It was a two hour program where a smiling happy Nicky blended in with his typical peers, his friends. He was totally unnoticeable, a major accomplishment! There were no loud verbal utterances, no funny sounds, no frantic jumping up and down, no running from his seat. There he was throughout the entire program, participating, smiling, indistinguishable from his typical peers. Amazing! Today was the first time I had EVER seen him in a school program where he did not stand out as the ASD kid. It was the first time I could see how much he wanted to be there. It was the first time I have seen him look truly proud. Amazing progress, a celebration in itself.

As I reflected, I knew the shirt fiasco was actually a good thing, because it distracted me from the nervous, wildly emotional mommy place where I had begun my day to a place where I was just proud!

After the ceremony, I threw a graduation party at the house. The party was complete with therapists who have worked with him over the past five years, kids, family, water balloons, barbeque and chaos. It was perfect, fantastic, and everyone celebrated the teams success that contributed to this special moment, this tremendous accomplishment. I dashed around until everyone left at 9:00pm and I went upstairs and threw up.
Wooo Hooooooooooooooooo!!!!


  1. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. I am also a single mom raising a 13 yr. old daughter with an autism spectrum disorder. It is very challenging to say the least. I think your blog is fantastic. I'm trying to start one myself. I get mixed emotions about inclusion for my daughter is not like Nicky. She is the child in the corner alone with no one to talk to. Inclusion has been a nightmare for us. It's very encouraging for me reading your blogs. My experiences have been very similar. Knowing there are others who are overcoming similar challenges feels somewhat like relief. I've been fighting this battle alone for so long.

  2. Is there anyway that I can contact you besides this blog?