On Saturday, November 1st, my beautiful little boy, Gavin, will turn three. A typical parent response would be pure bliss to celebrate the arrival of another birthday for their child. However, I’m struggling with a lot of emotions right now. The unknown of what turning three means for Gavin makes it difficult to be completely excited.
On Friday, October 31, 2014 at 4:30pm all of his current services will end; he will age out of the program. Our extended family of therapists will close the door to our apartment one last time. Sadly, Gavin will wave goodbye out his window, per his normal routine, but will not understand that these individuals who have had such a large impact on his life are now gone and will not be returning for any more visits.
A thank you just doesn’t seem like enough for this team of amazing individuals and goodbye seems incredibly hard to say. This team took Gavin from place of being locked inside his own head with no way to communicate, to a boy who now screams “Yea Mama!” every time I return home from work. He has always been an outstanding little boy, but because of them the world now has a chance to know what he can accomplish with the assistance of therapy.
What they have demonstrated in a year is the ability to illustrate, to everyone outside of our family, that Gavin does matter. Autism should not define him. He has been successful because he knows that Doug and I believe in him, but also that his team believes in him. They never quit on him and they never let him quit on himself! They didn’t focus on all of the things Gavin couldn’t do, but instead invested time into all the things they knew he could achieve. They consistently applauded all of his accomplishments big or small. They have been his champions, his cheerleaders, his voice and his advocates.
I didn’t have a plan to learn about the world of special education or special needs children, that path was decided for me. However, his team chose this line of work. They wanted to have the ability to unlock a child’s potential and they were successful with that goal with Gavin; they literally gave him a voice.
So thank you, Gavin’s team. Thank you for setting attainable goals for him. Thank you for not leaving when he hit you, kicked you, or screamed at you out of frustration. Thank you for teaching our family sign language and demonstrating the abilities he can have to communicate through communication boards. Thank you for being excited that he picked on another student at group because it showed progress in social skills!
Thank you for always being positive in what could have been a very dark year for us. Your team’s drive to never give up on him or our family was our push to find strength and positivity in every situation.
I pray that our communication together does not end on Friday. You truly have become an extension of our family. You are incredibly wonderful individuals. I am forever grateful for the work you have done to help Gavin find his place in this world.