Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The" HONOR" able Riley Freeman

As the mother of a special needs son, our bragging rights often take a different form and a different timetable than other parents are prone too.

When he finally started walking at 18 months, I kept it pretty close to the cuff and pretending he had been walking for as long as other toddlers his age.

When he finally attempted to write his name when he was 5, again this was a milestone quietly Hoorayed at home.

We are as equally proud of his accomplishments as other parents and have never felt short changed in that area ever in his life.

In fact, I think a blessing in my life that comes with parenting an exceptional child is that I really stop and savor all of those moments and never take anything for granted.

So, this past Thursday was one of those days. It was also one of those rare times that a moment like that shared with others who mean so much to my son and to me and they also understood the celebration of that moment.

My son, for the first time made the A/B Honor Roll. So what if it is an adapted curriculum, to him it is just as challenging as everyone else's and just as rewarding to succeed in it. Our school does a really great awards ceremony each 9 weeks for the Honor Roll students. Each grade gathers in the auditorium and they call each student by name one by one, announce their accomplishment and present them with a certificate, a gold ribbon and ticket for a free meal at Chic-Fil-et.

There was no prouder child in that auditorium than my son.

There was no prouder parent than I watching.

There were also many proud teachers cheering him on.

And I can venture to say, several teary eyes.

How much of this does my son really understand I do not know. I do know that he was very proud of himself and so were his classmates. I also know that it was boost to his pride and self esteem.

It was also important in our family in another way too.

My daughter,who is a very bright and aware 6 year old, has begun asking a question here and there about her brother, what is autism and why he behaves in some ways like he does. Some of her classmates have asked her these questions,which is quite natural. I am always diligent in making sure she knows that her brother is smart and able he just sees the world, hears the world and communicates with the world in his own way. Different is OK. That he learns at his own pace and this is just fine. It was really good for her to see him make the Honor Roll and get this award. She was a little jealous because they do not start this until 2nd grade. She sees him in just a little different light now. He has set a standard for her to live up to at school for the first time.

And I have overheard her tell a few people quite proudly that her brother made the Honor Roll.

It is so important for kids with special needs to be honored and singled out for accomplishments in front of their peers at school. Maybe more important than the regular kids. Even if you have to make something up, Give them an award for something at least once during the year. You cannot imagine what it does for that child, for his parents and for his world.

I hope that no parent takes any honor their child earns for granted. I noticed there were many more kids getting honored than parents there watching. I know because of the single parents and two working parents that it is hard to make every program during the day.But I hope that their child knows that it is no small feat to make the honor roll. That their parents are as pround and offer up as many kudos as we did.So many kids go through school and never get singled out for anything good. So many never have a proud moment in front of their normal peers.

We cheer our son on daily in our home.
......Our daughter too.

It was priceless to hear him cheered on in front of his schoolmates and teachers.

A more genuine grin full of pride has never been seen before.

So Thank you to my son and Thank You to all of his teachers.

Thank You for a really giving me a really Great Proud Mom moment that will go down in our family history books.


Blogger Susie Q said...

Those are the sweetest pictures ever!!!!

Way to go, Riley!

Blogger Sig said...

So sweet and it made me tear up. WTG Riley.


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