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Never Give Up! – By Trish Cox

Are you feeling discouraged by all the things “people” are telling you your child won’t ever do? Indulge me while I share how we went from very defeated place to a very good place and why it is important to share your child’s successes. At my son’s kindergarten readiness meeting in preschool 14 years ago I thought I had the perfect kid but the teacher and director of the school told me that he would not “make it” in any Hamilton County school and that I needed to start looking at “special” school options. After many tears that summer, I decided not to short change him which would mean giving him the chance to fail, or SUCCEED, through his own experiences. That meant that we would head off to a public school kindergarten in the Fall. Fourteen years later, he is a senior with an ACT score of 25 and a 3.77 GPA. He will be in attending MTSU in the fall and majoring in animation. Oh, and did I mention that he will be in the honors college at MTSU? Why do I mention all of this? Not to brag, though I am very proud of him, but to encourage you. By 1st grade I had seen my son do so many things that he wasn’t supposed to do and year after year he amazes me with the things he does. There have been many tears over the years, many sleepless nights. His journey has been an uphill one and he has more than earned every achievement but he continually put one foot in front of the other and that led him to where he is today….following his dream to work in the gaming industry. My son has Asperger’s so he is on the higher functioning part of the spectrum but even if your child is on some other part of the spectrum do not think that this lesson in believing in our kids doesn’t apply to your child. Through my years of advocating for our kids I have seen kids do some pretty amazing things. Set your expectations high, support your kids and BELIEVE in them. At the times when you get discouraged, find someone who has enough hope for the both of you, or a success story they can share until you can get back to a place of hope. Another important thing that I want to share with you is that you need to share your child’s success stories in this forum. I can’t tell you how much peace it gave me when someone shared that their child had achieved the status of being completely potty trained…..at 8. My son was 7 and still struggling to make it through the night and I was sure we were the only ones with that struggle. Others also shared their journey once that one mom posted about their success and some of their kiddos were past 10 when they reached that plateau and believe it or not, that gave me hope that he would be where he needed to be by college! We need to realize that we are not alone in our struggles and even the smallest thing will encourage more people than you know. It is not rare for our kids to take longer to get to a destination but often times that destination is not out of their reach. My son’s Godmother read “The Little Engine that Could” to him over and over when he was young and she continually reminds him of that engine year after year. Now go read that book to your child and then share something on this page that will encourage someone….it could be the thing that they need to hang on to today!

PS: My son, Caelan, is featured in this article. He is the one with the blue paint on his face and the one standing by the President of MTSU holding a book. Five years ago when we started looking at colleges we weren’t completely sure how realistic that would be but we kept plugging along as if it was totally in the realm of possibilities. Did I say I am proud of him?

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