Today I would like to celebrate one of my best friends. A gorgeous five year old boy who I volunteer with every week.

I would like to celebrate him for the huge strides he has made recently. His family have been doing The Son-Rise Program with him for about three years. During that time I have seen great changes in him.

Since I first met him when they came to our center in 2006, to when I began volunteering with him last August. His eye contact had increased hugely, he was using some clear words and had become more open to physical contact.

These changes happened steadily over the course of the program and his Mom referred to him as a “Plodder”, meaning that he moved very gradually over a longer period of time than some children do.

In the past year, since working with him on a regular basis, his pace of movement has started to quicken, going from single words, to three word sentences in the course of a few months and being toilet trained within a week of the team making it a focus for him.

In the past 6 weeks, however, I have seen a new side to him. He looks, smiles, comes over to me and initiates games when I enter the playroom, he is now playing 15-40 minute games with me and they have involved lots of looking, laughing and spontaneous talking and has more of a desire to interact with me.

He is so much more connected and when he is exclusive, is at times torn between whether to do his own thing or whether to play with me. A year ago, he could go for an hour without even showing that he knew I was in the same room as him while he played exclusively with his toys. His average interactive attention span has quadrupled within the past six weeks.

Whether your child is making baby steps or giant strides, we are cheering you on and supporting you each step of the way. Stick with it, delight in the progress that has been made no matter how little and be grateful for what your child is doing. You too, will see giant strides when your child is ready. I am so excited for the rest of my journey with my little friend, and I am excited for your journey with the special child in your life.

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