The hubby and I were discussing the other day how special education students were treated back when he and I were in school. He remarked to me that in his time, they were "hidden away" from the rest of the students. When I was in elementary school, I can remember seeing the kids in those classrooms pass by us in the hallway. I don't ever recall seeing them in the lunchroom or playground. I'm so glad that times have changed. Even though Dominic is in a "self-contained" special education classroom, he does get to go to the art, gym and music classrooms. He also gets to eat lunch in the school cafeteria. He loves hot lunch on Thursday - pizza!! Given Dominic's abilities, he is able to be "mainstreamed" into the general education classroom for small amounts of time. Every moment he is able to do that gives me so much hope for his future. I absolutely love what Dominic's current teacher is doing. He has started a peer-to-peer program that has kids from the general education classrooms come to Dominic's classroom for structured activities. On Monday, his teacher told me he had a peer-to-peer interaction that lasted 14 minutes!! While that might not seem like a huge amount of time, it is for Dominic. It's sometimes hard for me to think back to those times that he didn't talk or make much eye contact. We were told at his IEP meeting in October that he is right on the cusp of reading on a third grade level. Pretty awesome considering he is in fourth grade :) Dominic has been reading books to me lately, his favorite one right now is Lady and the Tramp. Before he learned to read, he would take a book, slam it shut and then throw it across the room because he had zero interest in even looking at the pictures! I think once in a while, what if Dominic was born the year I was (1963). Would the diagnosis of Autism automatically have meant living in an institution? Hard to say. So much more is known now that wasn't known then. As a mom, it is the best feeling in the world knowing that my child is "included" in so much at school. I am so thankful this year for how much progress he has made (especially the potty training)! There are so many people that support and love Dominic and celebrate even his smallest accomplishments. I hope through my blog posts, you get a small glimpse into our day-to-day lives raising a child with special needs. Dominic is a very important part of our family and we couldn't imagine our lives without him!!