Katie Graduates
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graduation-2148715_1920Tomorrow my daughter Katie graduates from 8th grade. I honestly have no idea where the time went. It’s such a cliche, and yet, utterly on point. My brain keeps shouting: How did this happen?  It’s simply not possible. You have made a MISTAKE!

On the one hand, I’m shocked at how quickly the time passed. On the other, it feels as if both Katie and I have struggled and worked incredibly hard for years and years to reach this place.

In our case, both statements are undeniably true.

What’s different this time is the feeling that Katie is actually graduating. That she has earned the right to pass on, to matriculate, as opposed to merely moving from grade to grade due to age or a school district’s convenience. She is graduating. My baby is graduating from middle school.

I think I’m going to cry.

10931724_10153038045125801_5193524999750374991_nWe are roughly 18 months into our journey with the Soma Rapid Prompting Method (Soma-RPM) and Open Mind School (OMS). Despite attending school only three days per week, Katie has gone from a child labeled “unteachable” and doing kindergarten-level academic work (if that), to one who can research and write reports, use PowerPoint, do basic math, comprehend middle school chapter books, and offer opinions on current events:

“David Hogg is smart.”

“Guns are dangerous.”

“Volcanoes are great!”

Her ability to self-advocate and regulate her body has grown tremendously. She is gaining skills and independence. Her communication continues to improve. Her tantrums are fewer and farther between. Yes, she still has her teenage moments, still has meltdowns, still struggles with many tasks that most people take for granted, but on the whole, she is doing incredibly well.

I’m proud of Katie. None of this progress has come easily. I wish that weren’t the case, but it is. Yes, we still have a long, long way to go, and yes, it’s taking far longer than I ever anticipated.  But I know that we are on the right path.

I wish almost daily that I discovered Soma-RPM sooner. But it’s senseless to beat myself up over that fact. I did the best I could. Eventually I found it, and it’s working. It’s working better than I ever expected. I found OMS too. And while Katie and I may take a step backward every now and then, overall our movement has been forward. After years of spinning our wheels, we are finally making progress.

When I look back, I realize we have come a long, long way.

Champagne_glasses_1

Which is why I believe we have earned this graduation. And tomorrow, I plan to savor it.

Until next time,
Cynthia 

About Cynthia J. Patton

Writer, Editor, Advocate, Speaker, Special Needs Attorney, and Autism Mom. Also the Founder and Chairperson of Autism A to Z, a nonprofit providing resources and solutions for life on the spectrum.
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