My son and a new school.

It’s been said that education is an essential and major part of our life and the level we accomplish determines the type of success we achieve. For most of us school is a place where we learn and find a home away from home and we develop friendships and focus on our studies. In my school days the only time I missed a day was when I was sick. I never had difficulties in the schools I attended or in my classes and I never had the experience of being suspended. I was a quiet kid but I managed to achieve success and make some friends along the way.

For my son school has been a challenge but not from the perspective of academics as he is very bright. The challenge is social and behavioral. Ever since he was a toddler attending school he needed a pretty extensive support system to address his special needs as an autistic child with a seizure disorder. We have been trying to help our son get through these emotional challenges he encounters and find the necessary support system that will allow him to overcome them and to flourish. He needs continual encouragement and mentoring that will help him develop self confidence and a sense of self worth. He has a kind and caring side that needs to be recognized and further developed so he can shine and be known for how he really is.

All kids from time to time have tantrums and act out but it seems our son has them more frequently and this has resulted in many disruptions in his schooling experience and it has led to several suspensions through the years leading to frequent absences that have contributed to his losing out on learning, his gradual loss of self esteem and his inability to have normal socialization with his peers. We have been very concerned about the predicament they have put him in as a student without a school and felt the schools he attended were not helping him and decided to take the easy way out when they suspended him.

The last school he was attending tried to provide him an education and keep him in the classroom and the school but the meltdowns our son encountered were too much for the school to handle and they were not equipped to help him through them so they took the action of a permanent suspension which was for 5 months starting in late November 2010 around Thanksgiving break and it lasted through Spring break, April 2011 until the Easter holiday. His former school did provide a teacher to come to the house for a 2 hour lesson, 5 days a week. This was the minimum education he was receiving for that period he was out of school and it was not always consistent. During that period his former school was also working on helping place our son in a suitable school environment.

We had several meetings with his former school trying to find the right school setting for our son and the school that was highly regarded and recommended was the James E Allen Middle School and High School which is a BOCES school that caters to special needs and handicapped children. The school learned of our son’s situation and they were open to admitting him where other schools were not. We were impressed with the school and the learning environment and the philosophy and we were confident that they would be able to help our son where the other schools were not so we decided to accept the school as our son’s next school. We are very concerned for our son’s education and we want him to feel comfortable and happy in the school he attends and we feel that James E. Allen will help him to get to that point.

His very first day of school at James E Allen was Tuesday, April 26 which he said felt like the start of a new school year. He is now adjusting to being in a new school with new teachers in a new location trying to make new friends and trying to do his best while containing his emotions. I am very sympathetic to my son for all the challenges he faces and I am trying my best to encourage him and help him to believe in himself and to find his strengths. Since he seems to enjoy math and writing I feel he should focus on doing his best in these areas as well as science, music and art. I believe in my son and know he can do well in school and deal with the social barriers most autistic children face because he has so much potential and he is deep down a wonderful young boy with a very kind and caring heart.    

As a parent with hopes and dreams for their child I stand by my son with my wife and we fully expect our son to overcome his difficulties and to flourish in the right school and we are confident that James E. Allen Middle/High School will allow him such an opportunity.

Good Luck Matty, We love you and we know you will find your way and we will always be there to help you and guide you as will your teachers. Enjoy your new school!

Edward D. Iannielli III

We all have a story to tell

Reflection and thought are essential in relating our experiences and telling our story. We all indeed have a story to tell as we think back and find the words to express all that is important to us. As we reflect on our life we will have many memories and experiences to share and sometimes we may shed a tear in speaking about those who were there for us in our life and are now gone such as our parents. We were just babies in the beginning and we were totally dependent on our parents who held us, comforted us and wiped away our tears. They made sure we were well fed and changed and they spoke and sang to us and helped us to laugh and say our first words. They were there for us when we took our first steps and they cheered for us when we walked towards them with arms wide open. Our parents always made us feel safe and they taught us very important values that helped shape us as individuals and made us understand how we should live our lives.

Expressing ourselves is essential and we have so many ways of doing so. We will find in our lives that establishing relationships with others requires a lot of energy, time, commitment, devotion and desire. We learn from the relationships we forge in our lives and we are very much influenced by them as well. As we grow, mature and develop self confidence and a sense of who we are we start to find our way developing friendships and most importantly, our personality. We must always remember that we are worthwhile and deserving of a life filled with happiness, joy, love, achievement, friendship and respect.

The joys of growing up and developing relationships helps give meaning to our lives and enables us to become interconnected as we become young adults. As we mature we will start to appreciate the relationships we develop with members of the opposite sex. For most of us dating is a time of great uncertainty and we feel uncomfortable initially but as we start to feel accepted and start to enjoy the experiences of doing things together with our “sweethearts” we will find that those relationships are truly special and very important to us. There is no better feeling in the world then to feel loved by a young woman and for a boy now becoming a young man this love is the most exciting and most challenging experience we will encounter. We must always remember to be respectful, kind, considerate and flexible. We will also start to realize the positive impact a young woman will have in our life.

We learn early on the importance of education and being responsible. Our success is measured by what we achieve and accomplish throughout our life and we all have the same opportunities but we all have different priorities and values which influence us in the decisions we make and the level of success we achieve. We also must be strong and resilient to all the challenges and obstacles we certainly will encounter along the way.
The mind is a very powerful creation and there is no limit to what it can achieve but it is the person who controls the mind and it is emotion that controls the person so we all have to learn to control our feelings and emotions and maintain clear and concise thought.

As we live our lives and we experience the many encounters, changes, stages, emotions and people we come in contact with we will start to know that life is truly wonderful and although we may find uncertainty, indecision, disappointment, failure and heartbreak along the way we also will find joy, happiness, love, achievement and success which will help us to go on and take the good with the bad so we can have a balanced life.

As we so often realize in life that we need to have others around us we will also want to share our lives with others and one day marry and raise a family. It is human nature to desire companionship and to have children. Children are very special and it is when we experience the birth of our own child that we learn the importance of responsibility and we get to truly appreciate the beauty, the miracle and the innocence of life. We find our lives take a new direction and we become wiser and more caring when we become parents. We also live our lives with our children as the central focal point in our life. It is our children that give us strength, courage and joy and make us far better as adults. We protect, care and nurture our children and they teach us so much about life and unconditional love.

The hardest part in life is getting older and experiencing loss of our loved ones. For those who were close to us it is so hard to have to come to the realization that we will no longer see them and all that will remain are the precious memories. We will need to always keep our guard up and maintain a sense of hope and always try our best to balance our emotions and feelings to get through the tough and difficult times. This is part of life and this also has a tremendous impact on us in how we live and survive and care for our families. We are human and we have emotions and feelings and we will find at times that we will cry and feel very sad but we must know that we also will laugh once again despite these sad realities we will encounter.

As we reflect on our lives and all the people who cared for us, taught us, shared with us, talked to us, loved us and made us feel special we will feel a special bond that will never be broken and when we reflect on those who were truly special such as our parents, our siblings, our friends, our teachers, our spouse, our children and our relatives we will feel very fortunate and happy and that will be a major part of our story and a major force in who we are.

So when I think of all the special people in my life and the years gone by and how quickly they have passed I too realize I have a story worth telling that chronicles my love of my family and how truly grateful I am for all who have helped shape my life and made me realize how beautiful life is and how special it is to have children and to always be there for them no matter what. No one stands alone. We all need someone to help pick us up and bring us back. I am so very lucky and I will remember this each and every day I wake. Thank you for being there for me.

Dedicated to my mom and dad, my wife and my son with love.

Edward D. Iannielli  III