First, congrats to Becca Ann, comment #159 who won the giveaway!  I am so thrilled for you Becca and will be in touch with you asap! Thank you to everyone for your impressive participation!
I started this post months ago, but always abandon it because i get so overwhelmed with emotion. Our sweet boy Zion was diagnosed with mild to moderate autism back in February. However, there were signs before then. He was diagnosed with a speech delay at around 20months and he started speech therapy at the age of two. At two and a half years old, he was examined by a psychologist to determine if he was autistic or not, but no diagnosis was made because he excelled in so many of the categories that they use as measuring tools.
When he turned 3, the symptoms became more pronounced and he was reevaluated soon after. Although I knew the diagnosis was coming, I still hollered my eyes out.  Why him?

he was a year old in this pic and the one on the left above
I was the crazy first time Mom who wore Baby Plus on her tummy every morning to work because she wanted to communicate with her baby. I was the crazy first time Mom who read everything about shots and their implications AND made sure to stagger all his shots. He never received them all at once. I was the crazy first time Mom who... I could go on and on. But, despite all my crazy efforts and sometimes obnoxious protective behaviors (I have to admit I was a bit like a momzilla), I do still have a child with autism.
We placed him in a preschool when I returned to work after having Ian. Things were going great because he had a great teacher(who actually has an adult daughter who was diagnosed with Aspergers as a child). Therefore, she knew exactly how to interact with Zion. He blossomed under her watch, but then she had a stroke and things went downhill. The others didn't care so much and let's just say we had a "falling out". He was home briefly. I even entertained the idea of homeschooling.  Thank goodness I was no longer teaching because  I am able to be the warrior and advocate that he deserves. At one of those ritual IEP meetings, his team timidly suggested that he be placed in a special needs classroom. I say timidly because I had made it very clear that I didn't think such a setting was for him or would promote and challenge his growth.  You see, Zion is a genius. No exaggeration. His brilliance astounds everyone. Nonetheless, we were assured that his teacher was the BEST and not all the students were autistic, but they all had IEPs. The hubby and I discussed it and decided to give it a shot. So.happy.we. did.

His new Teacher.

There was only a month left in the school year when Zion started his new school and met his new teacher. Before the end of the week, she seemed beside herself with how smart he was/is.  She voiced early on, that his knowledge surpassed what was being taught.  Fast forward to this school year. He went back to his same teacher in the Special Ed Pre-k classroom(he is still only 4 years old),  but it wouldn't be for long.
New Beginnings.

His teacher made the recommendations for Zion to be placed in a regular Ed Pre-k classroom and only 8 days after school started, it came to be. I had an IEP meeting last Friday where again Zion's brilliance was noted again and his above average scores. Again, I cried(the norm). But this was through my happy smiles.  I met his new teacher whose background is Special Ed and this was her first year teaching a Regular Ed class. Coincidence, I think not. Zion has a his angels watching over him. His special Ed classroom teacher was also not a coincidence. In fact, the "falling out" at the other school was a blessing in disguise.

Photo Sep 15, 5 36 14 PM

The Impromptu Celebration
On Sunday, we had an impromptu celebration to recognize this great accomplishment for Zion. I used his favorite things and items from my party stash. Dad drew his favorite character, Thomas on the chalkboard wall in the playroom. He ate cupcakes( a rare treat), but that's also a fave of his:-). We told him how proud we were of him.

Photo Sep 16, 12 22 19 PM
Photo Sep 15, 5 31 14 PM (1)
Photo Sep 16, 12 15 52 PM
Photo Sep 16, 12 19 20 PM
after too many cupcakes

Photo Sep 15, 5 10 48 PM (1)
his favorite character, Thomas, thanks to DadaSmile

Photo Sep 15, 7 02 45 PM (1)

Autism and Us.
Therapy sessions, IEP(individual educational plan) meetings are now apart of our lives and that is fine. Zion receives speech therapy and occupational therapy(for sensory issues). He has made immense progress and now we can't keep him quiet.  Many of his issues are socially related. For e.g., he will now initiate play with other children. He used to totally ignore them.  He has taught us so much and has given me a new and fresh perspective on the world. It hasn't been easy, but we have been blessed. He has the best people on his team. He is our genius who happens to have some quirks. Today was his first day in his new classroom and I can’t wait to get him from school to hear all about his day! I have so much to share with you all! It is liberating to tell you our story.  Blessings and a beautiful day to everyone! xx


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