My first lengthy conversation with him was on Friday and he started his first day on Wednesday. Maria has him on a new schedule where he is in bed by 8:30 pm which is earlier then I am home from work so I had not had the benefit of spending any real time with him until Friday. His school day starts a lot earlier than he is used to and that is why Maria has to be strict with him as to when he has to be in bed because he has to be up by 6:30 am for the bus which picks him up at 7:00 am.
I spoke to him about his first week and he seemed happy to be back at school and he likes his classmates. His class size is 6 students so he is getting individualized attention which we are very happy with as we feel he needs this kind of schooling environment. His new school is similar to his previous school but seems to be more equipped with handling behavioral issues. I was encouraged hearing him say he likes his school, teacher and class. I was thinking about this for a while so I feel relief and am happy for him.
It seems like the teachers Matty had throughout his early school years all were happy to have him in their class and Matty always liked his teachers. He is a kid who is well liked and exceptionally bright when he applies himself. He has to be encouraged and we need to be persistent and consistent with him when it comes to doing his homework and doing his tasks and keeping clean hygienic habits. It is part of the give and take with an autistic child. We also see Matty as a curious child full of questions and a child who is very compassionate. I am so amazed with him as we have seen this quality displayed by him many times. As we were at Hershey recently Matty had come to comfort about 6 or 7 crying children, both girls and boys with their parents present and we and their parents thought it was very sweet of him. He has always been this way as he always asks a crying child’s parents if the child is OK and they just say what a kind boy you have. He even talks to the child and says “Don’t cry, everything will be alright.” Matty is such a great kid and I’m not just saying that because I am his father. I am saying it because I see it. He is truly special to us and that is why we want to see him doing well in school and we are so delighted that he is happy to be back at school.
Matty had an enjoyable summer as he enjoyed going to camp again and he had visits with the 2 young filipino children that grandma baby sits for. We also took him on some nice weekend trips and our little vacation at Hershey was fun and as I said before just seeing him smile and going on the rides with his mommy made the trip extra special for me. I was happy grandma came with us too as she takes wonderful care of Matty and she is part of our family.
Matty has a long school year ahead of him and we know he will probabaly encounter some obstacles along the way but he knows he can talk to us or his psychologist. We are glad to see him back at school and will always encourage him. He is our pride and joy and we just love him so much and want to always see him happy and doing well. He is our son!
Edward D. Iannielli III
Maria Jesusa Gonzales Iannielli