This year my 4 year old L has been attending an early intervention centre for children with autism – AEIOU. For me, it was the big push to help him to progress as much as possible before starting formal school in the new year.
AEIOU is a non-profit set up to provide the best possible practices in early intervention. The people who work there are passionate about their work, amazingly patient and caring not only of your child but of the whole family.
This week will be L’s last attending the formal program. He’ll do a couple of weeks of the holiday program and then it’s over and out. It’s going to be sad to say goodbye to the people who have been helping me to give him the best possible start, sad to lose the community we have built up in the time he has been there. I’ll miss the mum’s on a Wednesday morning where we can say anything, laugh like fools at the crazy situations we find ourselves in, shed a tear if necessary, and support each other to keep looking forward with hope for our kids.
I’ll miss some of the kids too. I usually spend about half an hour in the playground each morning when I drop L off for the day. My other two are with me of course. N at 21 months, just loves to hang out there. Some mornings when we arrive, the energy in the playground is absolutely electric – 40 pre-schoolers demonstrating the breadth of the spectrum they are on can be pretty dynamic. But N just waltzes in there like he owns the joint and has a whale of a time playing on the equipment, jumping on the trampoline with the big kids, digging in the sand pit and hitching rides on the back of a trike.
The baby gets a huge amount of attention from a small group of kids, all acting independently, but extremely interested in him and his pram. We’ve all become good friends over the year, I’m lucky enough to get lots of cuddles and the occasional kiss from these little darlings. Baby J shows what a bit of motivation can do for language development – those kids can’t stop yakking about him! Anyway, we will miss this morning ritual.
I know that next year, there will be new rituals, new Mum’s groups, new teachers, new kids and we will fall into a new rhythm, but till then I’m going to miss what we had this year. So a big, enormous thanks to the wonderful teachers, therapists, facilitators and admin staff at AEIOU. They’ve made a world of difference for my little man.
This is the AEIOU Christmas card – it’s worth having a look at.