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Celebrate Autism Awareness

It my most favorite time of the year again!! April is Autism Awareness Month!! For our family that means we celebrate our son McKinley! McKinley was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum when he was two years old, he is now 14! Autism is a neurological and developmental disorder that begins early in childhood and lasts throughout a person’s life. It affects how a person acts and interacts with others, communicates, and learns.

This year at school he has been having a great year! One of his favorite things he has been doing is participating in a snack shop ran within his classroom. McKinley and his classmates host a snack shop in their room and people can come in a purchase all kinds of goodies from them. He looks forward to the many visitors coming into the room. It helps with counting money, interacting with people and teaching them a skill that could be applied later in their life. A big GREAT JOB to the Mrs. Goldthwaite and her classroom aides for implanting a great resource for him and the other kids within the room!

Another big milestone for McKinley this year was braces. Some kids with Autism have a variety of sensory issues. McKinley is one of those kids! He is very particular with his clothing; his ears are sensitive and he still prefers the feel of certain fabrics. So, when I say getting braces was nothing less than a small miracle, it was for us! He did really well! We have been taking him to the dentist every 3 months to help prepare him for the braces. We are fortunate to have found a kind dentist that has helped McKinley overcome those sensory issues and fears. It took lots of trips to the dentist but it paid off. If you see McKinley make sure you ask to see them! He is happy to show you and tell you that he is ready for them to be off but knows it won’t be for a while. He’s a hoot!!

We have a big change coming up next year for McKinley, high school! We cannot believe that he will be leaving Mrs. G and the girls in his classroom at Keystone Elementary but they have done a great job getting him ready for his next adventure! We have been preparing him by sending him over to the high school a couple days a week to learn the building and met all his new teachers. He is excited but says he will miss everyone at the “little school”. I can’t’ wait to update you on this first year!

I could go on and on about how amazing our son is. How he has worked hard to reach milestones I took for granted, how he has overcome many of the struggles with Autism. I am reminded each day that he is maturing. I look forward to the growth to come. He still is the Thomas the train, lightening McQueen loving kid and I don’t think that will ever change. I think I will always have a train in my purse or a box of Legos in the car and I am ok with that!

I ask everyone this month to read a little about Autism and other Developmental Delays. Our lives with McKinley in it are beyond blessed. He has shown us the true meaning of kindness and patience’s. I often think if everyone had McKinley’s outlook on life how happy this world be! Until next year!

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