Kim’s Puzzle Piece Dedication

Kim dedicates her puzzle piece to…..

                                                     Nicolas

                        As a child I helped special needs students in the life skills classrooms.  I never dreamed that I would one day have a son with special needs or diagnosed with autism.  Our first born son, Nicolas, changed all of that.  Nicolas was diagnosed with articulation disorder and sensory processing disorder at the age of 4.  At the age of 6, Nicolas was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and OCD.  One year later Nicolas was diagnosed with ADHD, pragmatic language disorder, and lateral lisp.  One year following that he was diagnosed with an eye tracking disorder and a general anxiety disorder.

After a lot of therapy and school resources, Nicolas is excelling in school as an “A” honor roll student.  Nicolas has participated in school spelling bees and U.I.L. music memory.  Nicolas was also chosen for the amazing award of “Be a Hero, Not a Bully” which is given to one third grade boy at the end of the year.  Nicolas has also participated on student council for 2 years.  Nicolas loves all things involving Legos, antiques, books, the beach, going on hikes, museums, and the military.

Nicolas has opened my eyes to seeing the world of special needs in a different light.  He has pushed me to think outside of the box and question what I wanted to do in life.  I was pursuing a career in the medical field until Nicolas was born.  Now I am finishing up my bachelors in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis on special education. I will be obtaining my early childhood- 6th grade generalist and a early childhood-12th grade special education teaching certificating. Next fall I will be starting a double master’s program in autism and applied behavior analysis followed by a PhD in special education with an emphasis on pervasive developmental disorders.  Nicolas inspired me to completely change my career path.  Nicolas gave me the insight on how I could best help people, and that is through teaching and researching special needs and special education.

Nicolas is a sweet boy who strives to please others.  He will do anything possible to lend a helping hand to others.  Nicolas makes an impact on everyone he meets.  I have had his previous teachers tell me just how much their outlook and mindset on teaching has changed since having Nicolas in their classroom.  His innocent look on life has helped me become less judgmental of others.  He loves everyone and sees no one’s flaws.  In the eyes of Nicolas, everyone is a friend and there are no strangers.  He instills in me the power of helping others.  It brings me an abundance of joy when I am able to help other families with autism or give others advice on special needs.

Nicolas is the missing piece to our family puzzle.  Without Nicolas in my life, I would not be the type of person I am today.  Nicolas has molded me into a better person which I will always be thankful for.  He has enabled me to see that regardless of anyone’s special needs that everyone can live life to the fullest, and for that I will always be grateful to my Nicolas.   I am so glad I was asked to be a part of the executive board of trustees for Crossroads Autism Network.  I automatically accepted the position in honor of Nicolas. Through C.A.N. we can help others in our community with resources and opportunities while at the same time spreading awareness and acceptance!