|Special Olympics State Track Meet|
Columbus, Ohio / June 2016
Ryan has come so very far since my last entry.
He is less than a month away from his 10th birthday, but I sent him to school today for picture day in size 24 month shorts and 4T shirt...so he's maintaining the expected small size. He is actually getting pretty tall, but just has no meat on those bones! It is certainly not for lack of eating, because the boy can really eat!
His small size doesn't stop him though!
He participated in Special Olympics track and field for the first time this year. His events were the 100 Meter Dash and softball toss, and he always competed against kids and adults much larger and older than he was...but he did his best and had a GREAT time!!! He absolutely loved it, and his coach and teammates were wonderful too.
He is old enough to be in 4th grade but, because we kept him in preschool an extra year, he's currently in 3rd grade.
He started a new school this year due to the rearrangement of the elementary special education classrooms within the district, and it is also the first year he doesn't have a sibling in school or on the bus with him. My biggest worry was that, because the school wasn't used to having special needs classrooms in their building, the kids there wouldn't be as compassionate.
Luckily I was wrong. All that worrying was for nothing, because he loves his new school, feels welcome, and has been treated with kindness and acceptance. My heart is happy.
Ryan is very confident and truly able to be himself without worrying what others think. I am actually quite envious of those traits. I do fear the day when he realizes he's different, especially if it's because someone makes him realize in a not so kind way. One day at a time though, as my worrying about things that haven't happened yet doesn't seem to serve me well anyway.
His personality is amazing. He's funny and sweet and very determined. His social skills are a big strength for him, and I know this will always be helpful throughout life.
He seems to fit in perfectly with 4-5 year old typical kids, in a developmental sense, so he does have significant delays and challenges compared to other almost 10 year olds. He has some sensory issues, a lot of difficulty with fine motor skills, people still have a hard time understanding his speech sometimes, and he needs help with more things than other kids his age. These challenges, though, are welcome. Welcome because were told he would NEVER EVER do so many of the things he is doing now. The fact that he continues to make progress and such significant gains is amazing. We do not take it for granted.
The things he can do FAR outweigh the things he can't. He runs, he eats 100% by mouth, he does well on spelling tests if he can type his words instead of write them, has started to read, he gets himself dressed, is day potty trained, has no more serious medical issues or need for surgeries, he helps pack his lunches, is getting really good at shooting baskets, he gives the best hugs, makes people smile regularly, and is a really good friend to others. He also loves to dance, listen to music, play in the water, and is pretty obsessed with time and weather.
He has made me a better mom, a better person, and provided me with a better perspective as a social worker who helps other families going through their own scary, difficult, and uncertain times. He has helped my other two kids to be even more compassionate and amazing. He has inspired me to write children's book manuscripts and publish one of them (still working on getting the second one published!!), run marathons, and so much more.
He has worked so hard for everything and remains happy and determined.
His brother and sister are heroes to him and I believe that they have helped him get to where he is now. I have no doubt that they will continue to inspire and motivate him in ways that I can't and I am so thankful for all three of them!
We are so proud and happy. We can't wait to see what else Ryan has in store for us...but the joy and overwhelming love we have for him will stay the same no matter what!