Why I walk.....that question has so many answers. The Summit Center has been an integral part of our son Teddy’s special education journey since he was diagnosed with Autism at 18 months old. Since the early days of intervention, therapeutic services have been key to the great strides our son has made year after year. This will be our 6th year walking, and our 5th year as team Teddy's Trailblazers. I can't imagine where Teddy would be without the range of services he has received over the years at Summit.
For those who have known Teddy all these years, it's hard to believe that once little, beautiful bright eyed boy, who was silent and serene is now this young man; almost 8 years old and who endearingly won the "social butterfly" award in his classroom last year. I never knew how much it was going to mean to me, for my son to find his voice until he said "Good morning Momma" without any prompts one morning. It's those day in and day out little interactions that we see him thriving in, where once he just was not present and participating. It's in those moments, where our breath is taken away and anything is possible from there on out.
I'm thankful for the educators at Summit, who strive to an exceptional level of teaching. Year after year, Teddy has received a new team of providers who are all in his corner pushing him to challenge himself and find his potential. Just this year, a new stride was made with Miss Pernal, his second grade teacher. His trust in her, and her belief in him now has him trying new foods daily. This was a HUGE deal to our family. Teddy has always struggled with eating. We've battled the feeding challenges to the point where we had to contemplate a feeding tube, because our son was not healthy. It's amazing to us, that this is no longer a concern as we know Summit has his back and will continue to work with him.
Summit also has a bevy of wrap around services available that we have utilized over the years. The L.A.F.F.S. program (Leisure Family Fitness and Socialization Program) enabled Teddy to pursue two interests - both hiking and learning to ride a bike over the course of two years. We love that because of this program, we can spend time as a family participating in the same activity without any reservations. The S.T.A.R. Program (Support, Training and Respite) was another opportunity we partook in for over 2 years. The parent training's offered were insightful, and have provided us with more knowledge to better help our son. Teddy loved the weekend respite portion of this program where he would be able to spend 4 hours on a weekend, engaging in sports, crafts and other activities at Summit, where we also could rest easy knowing he was in good hands, but also catch out breath from a very demanding parenting role.
There has yet to be one challenge that we were faced with Teddy and his Autism journey that we were unable to reach out to Summit about, where they collectively found tools, advice or behavioral interventions to help us overcome them. There is a sense of relief that comes with being a part of a school that treats you more like family than they do a number. I know that as long as Teddy has Summit in his corner, he will continue to blossom into the independent individual we know he has inside of him. These are just a few of the many reasons we walk.