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A Year of Reflection

By KERIA GROS

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A New Year has a different meaning to everyone.  It’s a fresh start, a reflection, a time where you want to set your goals and resolutions.  I always take the time to reflect on what the past year has brought our family, where we are currently, and where do we want the New Year to take us.  2018 was an okay year for our family; we had many of struggles and joys like most years and family experiences. Greyson continues making progress—which is amazing! This little boy constantly surprises us, and we learn something new about him every day. Even with progression it brought us stability: Stability to enjoy this time in our lives where he is in a good place within his journey. He has the want and desire to do more things independently and I hope that we can continue building on it.  Here is the reflection on our year.

Greyson gave up the sippy cup and started drinking from an open cup with little to no spillage.  He is becoming more efficient in learning to feed himself with utensils.  He still has work to do in that area, but we are further than we were the previous year. Greyson’s speech improvements are out of this world! He can carry on a conversation with you. He answers and asks questions correctly.  He voices his wants/needs and his likes/dislikes- which is huge! He started becoming verbal at the beginning of 2018 after 3 long years of being non-verbal. Greyson’s walking and posture has improved dramatically.  Even with a little regression this summer, he came back stronger than ever. School therapy has been great for him. All kids are different, and some parents have their opinions about school therapy, but it has helped him so much and still allowing him to be a kid and enjoy the school experience.

Greyson started prekindergarten this year—a new experience and chapter for our family. It came with learning that we had to let go. One of the hardest things we ever had to do. But letting go turned into an amazing experience. We love his school, teaching team, therapy team, and his classmates. It’s been a better experience than we could have hoped for. Greyson was able to meet some of his IEP goals and we are only half way through the school year. He’s gaining knowledge and he’s learned to play on the playground independently. He can climb up, slide down and play if he wants to—just like the other kids. He made friends. Kids aren’t viewing him differently- including him— it’s a huge sigh of relief.

Greyson joined TOP soccer this year and enjoyed it. TOP soccer is a special needs soccer league in our community. It was another experience that worked out better than we could hope for.  Volunteers team up with your child and work one on one with them. They run through drills and play a little game after. This allows the parents to finally just sit back, relax, and just watch their child have fun—instead of being the person who needs to get out there and help. Greyson doesn’t always participate; he prefers to just run around and have the volunteers chase him.  They are high school students who have amazing patience with the kids. They have as much fun as our kids do.

Greyson’s sensory improved with touch and noise. The feel of objects doesn’t faze him anymore.  The only noise that bothered Greyson was the sound of a baby crying (which you can imagine his struggle when we brought home his new baby brother at the beginning of the year!) His tolerance for his brother has improved. It was a hard year of adjustments for him when it came to Declan. Declan is older now and can play with him. Although Declan still cries, Greyson handles it a lot better one year later. We still have to separate your typical sibling fights and disagreements. But that is the territory that comes with having multiple kids no matter what their ability is.

Looking back on it now, we had a pretty good year. Every year we create goals for Greyson and this year I kind of want to just go with the flow. I have a lot of hopes and dreams for him. I want to watch him graduate from pre-K and start his new chapter in kindergarten. I’m hoping that he shows interest in potty training. But I don’t want to set unrealistic goals and put pressure on ourselves to try and reach them. They are achievable, but I don’t want to set us up for failure in case it doesn’t happen this year. I’m not trying to think negatively, I just feel like our family works best when we go with the flow. My stress level and anxiety improve when I have no expectations. It is quite okay to feel this way. Most of the goals depend on Greyson’s want for them. Right now we are just backing off of him until he is ready for those goals. Here’s to a new year, bring it on 2019!

KERIA GROS

Keria Gros is a mother of two boys, Greyson and Declan and resides in a small town in Louisiana. Greyson is a pediatric stroke survivor who also has Cerebral Palsy. Keria is the writer of the personal blog and Instagram Account, Greyson’s Gains, created to raise awareness on pediatric strokes and cerebral palsy, connect, and help other parents. Keria’s goal is to ensure no parent feels like they are alone in their journey.

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