As his communication increases, his connection to his family is stronger than ever before. He's been able to enjoy more things that 12-year-olds like simply because he can communicate his wishes, like playing baseball, going to concerts, riding a four-wheeler, Snapchat, riding a jet ski, and playing basketball, just to name a few.
Ian made huge gains academically in 2017 as well. He started middle school in August, a huge milestone for him that his parents worried about quite a lot. New teachers, new building, new schedule...things that can be very difficult for Ian. But he came home from his first day of school with a huge smile on his face, saying on his iPad that he really likes his teachers, that it was kind of a long day but he really enjoyed it. With his iPad, Ian was able to show his family he knows how to spell, giving them hope he will one day type to communicate. He has also shown that he knows multiplication, another thing that helps shape what he learns at school. His family is so thankful Ian's iPad and communication program helped us "untrap" him from the world of silence many nonverbal kids face.
A few days into middle school, Ian used his iPad to tell his mom to stop kissing him when she drops him off in the morning because...embarrassing! Mom said she was not prepared for that, but loved that he had such a typical response for a 12-year-old boy!
With more communication skills, Ian can advocate for himself more and more. He let his parents know he wanted to be in the general education classes with his peers in 6th grade. His parents pushed for his inclusion and it has been a huge success – he loves the challenge and being with his friends. Recently, he scored an 83 on his interacting body systems science test!
Of course, all that good doesn't come without some bad, and we were sad to learn Ian was hospitalized several times last year and had a seizure in May, breaking his nearly seven-year streak being seizure-free. Fortunately, Ian was able to use his iPad to tell his family how scary it was for him and how his head hurt, which he had never been able to do with seizures in the past. What a relief it must have been for him to be able to communicate that with his parents!
Ian enjoys spending time with his brothers, who have learned to use his iPad to communicate with him too, going for family bike rides, and loving life in general. Sounds awesome, Ian, we can't wait to see what 2018 brings for you!