Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Aloha School Year

Avi's school year ended and with it ended his years of preschool. Starting in August he'll be a full fledged elementary school student. Who can believe it?

The last day was kind of a blur... The last day of school ended with a luau. Itai was very excited to get to go to Avi's school because he loves playing with the Mac Truck from Cars and he even found a Doc "The Hornet" Hudson this time. He was also really excited for his Hawaiian shirt.

Avi didn't seem to think much of his Hawaiian shirt, but he really didn't want to wear the leis. After the limbo and hula lessons there was a little ceremony. Nine of the 10 boys in the class are moving on to Kindergarten. Some of them will be staying at Pingree while others are moving to public schools or different agencies. Avi was given a "Promotion Certificate" and an award for being the class acrobat.

Avi stayed pretty laid back during the most part.

Itai joined in the fun for coloring and snacks.

Avi wasn't entirely entertained by all of the program. Itai learned to say, "Aloha!"Congrats to our little graduate!

Now party!

Debbie kept saying she was feeling kind of sad about the end of the school year. She was asking if I felt sad and honestly I just felt excitement because I'm really proud of him; he's really done a great job. Then, just before everyone left (a few of the boys were gone) there was an impromptu class picture. Suddenly I did feel kind of sad. I spent a fair amount of time in the class and really liked the teachers and the students. Suddenly it was clear that this was the end of the year and we'd probably never see many of these kids and some of the teachers again. Suddenly the words of my end of year program were actualized and it struck me.

In Gratitude

Ten little boys apart from others,
Bound together, by fate made brothers,
Once more in boyish union combine
‘Ere the bands of brotherhood resign.

Through the door they so oft passed
They gather in upon their last
Perhaps ne’er to combine again
This band of boys, these brothers ten.

These boys forever in your debt
Whose voices cannot express as yet
The purest thanks you deserve to hear
As teacher, friend, and sister dear,

Voice in silence and a grateful heart,
Through smiles and tears as they depart
The thanks not understood by others
Save you few who forged these brothers.

Avi had a great year and we owe a lot to his teachers and classmates. Thanks everyone!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Just Keep Swimming

Avi recently started swimming lessons. He loves it. He LOVES it! The instructor was once a behavior therapist with a local school district and works well with Avi. He trusts her implicitly (I wish I could say the same of me) even though she tells him "Bummer!" when he swallows water or slips under. He follows her instructions as well as he ever follows any and smiles the entire time.

At his first lesson he was practicing swimming with her and his developmental pediatrician was there with his son who has autism. As they approached the side of the pool where all of the gear is stored Avi said something Debbie didn't quite hear, but the swimming instructor and the pediatrician both heard him and said, "Yeah, flippers!" It seems that he had seem them on the side and realized what they are. We have never heard him say flippers before and aren't really sure how he know knew, but they were both positive that he said flippers.

After Avi was comfortable with the teacher and the process we brought Itai along. He loves it too, but he doesn't look like he trusts her any further than he can swim. He has a look that says "Make sure she doesn't drown me!" every time she holds him. Debbie says is all in my head, but I'm telling you if you saw it you would want to scoop him out of her hands! She says Itai is a natural swimmer and will probably learn to swim quickly. He loves swimming too.

Since all of us were swimming we didn't get pictures of Itai in the pool. Instead please enjoy these never before seen photos of Itai at the neighborhood Easter egg hunt and the post hunt cake.

As long as they avoid the scuba students who are constantly swarming underfoot like sharks they have have fun. I got tripped up by one of them, though he would probably describe it as me attacking him.

One a very different note, Sahara Cares is coming!! We loved Sahara Cares last year and are so excited to go back. If anyone wants to come party with us this year we'd love the company! And if you know anyone who has a child with autism that doesn't know about it spread the word!
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