Monday, July 22, 2019

Max attended the AZYLF 2019

During the month of April, I was trying to figure out what
Max could do over the summer. 
I knew I didn't want him sitting around playing on his iPad.
 I prayed that I could find something for him to do. He did get a job and loved it,
 but I felt there was something more he needed.
 So, I search for programs that he could attend and found the
 Arizona Youth Leadership Form. 
He loved it!
He went for five days and had the most amazing time. He stayed in a dorm on the 14 floor and had a roommate and was learning about how to
transition from a youth to an adult. 
It was hard to let him go, but I have realized I need to let him spread his wings. 
Max came home so happy that he went. He even graduated from the program. 
We were not able to attend the graduation,
but was able to get some pictures from it. 

Max is wearing the navy blue shirt in the pictures. 

Here he is speaking at the Graduation. 

After he came home, he was thrilled that they invited him to come to state.

His peers are on church missions, getting married or moving on in life. 
Max on the other hand, is learning how to someday make that step. 
I think we did the right thing in holding him back in high school
 for two extra years on top of the regular four.
This next year will be Max's second year of being a senior. 
I have noticed Max is recognizing what is happening more around him. 
It warms my heart to see him growing into a wonderful young man. 
He is learning how to advocate for himself.
That has always been a struggle for him.
 I have noticed lots of people that have autism
 have a hard time advocating for themselves. 
The way we have helped him learn to advocate for himself is
 through rehabilitation, a goal in his IEP at school and
 I have made it a goal for him at home. 

About six months ago, Max noticed the young men in
our church who are a year younger than him
were preparing to serve a church mission. 
He said, "Mom everyone around me is growing up." 
My heart broke, broke into a million pieces
 that he felt left behind. 
I tried to hold back the tears, but they came. 
When you have a special needs child the tears often come
 when you least expect them to. 
I knew though, that Max had surpassed them
in ways they would never reach. 
He is gentle, kind, loving, friendly, helpful and he always smiles.
 Max doesn't see the bad in people only the good. 

Max has been an example to me.
He has taught me how to have patience. 
He has taught me how to love others.
He has been a blessing. 
Pure joy!