|Quite possibly my favorite picture of Ashton as a baby......|
Proof that he wasn't 'born' autistic... look at that amazing eye contact and that gummy grin!
While many times, people don't think of children being amazing and inspiring, YOU most definitely are! You continue to defy all odds, knocking down the walls and windows of Autism.
Last year, I was told your hand strength would never improve and neither would your handwriting and that your upper body and core strength would never improve. HA! You laughed (figuratively) in the face of defeat and your hand strength HAS improved (you can actually throw a ball now and not just plop it in front of you), your high 5s have some major strength behind them.... and GUESS WHAT?! Your handwriting HAS improved! The neo you were given by Assistive technology continues to sit and collect dust because you don't like using it.
I've watched you start running with your brother. While you don't have the endurance to push through multiple miles at a time yet, you are getting better. Your stride has improved, you can do multiple laps around a track without stopping now (you used to stop 1/2 way around the track on the first lap!), and you now seem to ENJOY getting out there and running.
Academically? Again, knocking those walls of Autism down big boy! You weren't really into participating much last year and wouldn't do ANY group work and hardly ever did any of your individual work. You were in class, but weren't really participating. Wow how that's changed! You love interacting with your classmates & friends, you go to and participate in group work and you can do your independent work, well.. independently! You've received all As and A-s this year, with an overall average of All As :) Way to go! First time EVER! :)
Your physical growth is apparent. You've grown about 4inches in the last year and have actually gained/lost enough weight that you weigh the same as you did last year. You're slimming down and growing up! You are such a handsome young man! You love having a "short with a little bit of hair" hair cut and I can always tell when it's time to get you in for another, as you start pulling on your hair. You are in the throes of teenager acne (this has just gotten really bad in recent weeks) but you handle the face washing, treating, and everything so well.
You are an incredibly easy-going kid. You go with the flow and not a lot phases you anymore. You're not so routine-oriented that you can't handle a change in routine, as long as we tell you about it as soon as we can. Even spur of the moment changes don't seem to phase you as long as it's a change that involves lots of prompting and reinforcers for you.
Basically, you're amazing AND an inspiration to many. You've grown so much in the last year, that I can't even begin to hazard a guess as to what you will be like as an adult. You've matured in so many ways that I can't hardly recognize the young man you are becoming. A few years ago I had lost hope for what I thought you might be capable of as an adult, and I can see how wrong I was to lose that hope. You can be absolutely anything you want to be, do absolutely anything you want to do, because you are that kind of kid. You are loved by so many people that just want to see you happy and successful in whatever life hands you. You take it all in with a smile.
I love you more than anything, Ashton! I may not always be the best mom, but I do try my hardest to be everything that you need. I love that you still snuggle up in a chair with me, I love that you want us around still (so many teenagers do not), and I love that you are exactly who you are meant to be. An amazing kid, with amazing people in your life and an amazing outlook on what your future holds.
Happy 14th Birthday sweet boy! Have fun today at your birthday party and getting your BIG SURPRISE #2!!! :)