Oh my little Eli.
He's a quirky little thing.
But his smile lights up a room, and he hardly ever passes by someone without giving him or her a hug.
When he was little, it was obvious that he had some delays. He wasn't talking and he had a lot of anxiety issues, especially around other children. We were very concerned, especially once Brynne came along and we started to really see the delays. They weren't just normal "boy" delays.
We had him tested and it appeared that he might be on the spectrum of autism. We chose not to receive a clinical diagnosis, but instead to just treat the problems. The primary delays were in speech and social interaction. In other areas, like motor skills, he was advanced!
Eli qualified for special services because of the seriousness of his delays, so just a few days after he turned 3 I took him to a real elementary school to start half-day preschool 4 days a week. He even rode the bus home. That was a highlight of his day! At his preschool he was able to get an early start on his education, and receive services for his speech delays.
He attended the developmental delay preschool for 3 full semesters, and we saw him grow by leaps and bounds! Last year he was old enough to start the public school pre-k program and his counselors felt that he was ready to be pushed and mainstreamed back into "regular" school. Although the delays were still apparent, and he received speech therapy two days a week, he continued to grow.
This year I am proud to say that he is in a regular kindergarten class full time. We are so excited for him! He's just like all of the other kids. Well, sort of. He's still quirky and resistant to change. He's like a little old man sometimes with his frumpy ways. But, then on a dime he flashes you that amazing smile.
He still has delays, but he works through them every single day. That requires him to bring some of his work home many days to finish. But, he does it with a smile on his face. He is working so hard!
We are so blessed that he has a teacher who is willing to do whatever it takes to help him succeed. She even changed her discipline system just for him to help encourage him to work hard at school and finish as much of his work as he can at school. On the days that he is able to stay focused and finish his work, he is so excited and proud of himself! I am just so proud of him for continuing to overcome his obstacles and push forward.
He is such an amazing kid and Rick and I often talk about how glad we are that he is not "normal." He has some qualities that are going to take him to amazing places someday! Whatever he ends up doing, it will be big! Whatever it is, I will be so proud of him!