Disclosure: My son was provided with the suit by Tip Top Tailors to facilitate this post. All opinions are my own.
As most parents of severely autistic children know, life is not all sunshine and roses. Most of us will spend the majority of our lives caring for our children. Diligently working to give them the tools they need to live independent lives while knowing it’s unlikely they’ll ever achieve that goal. We do it because while they may not develop into entirely independent adults, some of the lessons will mean they have more control over their selves and behaviours than they did when they were little.
Raising a special needs child of any form is hard work, and each goal a child reaches requires an incredible amount of work and effort by many people including themselves. This makes each goal a major deal.
Grad Night Is Coming
A couple of nights ago, my son had his grade eight graduation. Just a couple of years ago, the concept of him sitting through this ceremony would be mind-boggling, let alone actually behaving well for it. What made it awesome was the fact that my son had the opportunity to experience a suit from Tip Top Tailors.
At age 14 my son is just a hair shorter than I am and while he had a half-decent suit when he was little, he has never actually had a new, quality suit that was custom fitted, just for him.
Getting His Suit At Tip Top Tailors
On Monday we took him into Tip Top Tailor’s Dieppe location where the manager, Ralph Gruenewald in partnership with Dave Melanson, the District Manager, actually worked with us personally to outfit him and take the measurements needed to allow the suit to fit him properly. They paired the black two-piece Bellissimo suit with a white shirt, black bow tie, white pocket square and a leather belt to create an impression that really stood out.
It would not be a stretch to say he was proud of his suit, in fact, he loved putting it on and he loved wearing it. Our son may not be a huge one for a lot of activity, but he really does seem to love to look good, and he loves when he is the center of attention (when it is on his terms). I honestly do not think there is any doubt in my mind that he was proud of his suit and he wore it with pride.
His Grad Was A Success
His EA from this year and his resource teacher walked him in and sat with him until it was his turn to go on stage. While our son had a male instructor at his ABA that he truly bonded with, and one part-time male EA a couple of years ago, this year was his first year with a full-time male EA. It can not be stressed enough, how well they bonded, and how much work they accomplished together. Even now three weeks into summer vacation he still asks about him, and that is rare.
His resource teacher has been with him since his second year at the school. She has been involved in helping us deal with many of his early behavioural problems as well as being a major part of the team that brought us to the point where we are today. She has always been happy and friendly with him and he has almost always worked well for her. In all honesty, they were a major part in helping us get him to this point and it was wonderful to get to see them share it with him.
What is missing from this picture is his EA and his resource standing just out of frame encouraging him in how to stand, it was fun and a bit funny as of course being who he is, his first reaction was to try to play with the trophies on the table. However, they quickly had him moving in the right direction and took his certificate and walked back down off the stage on his own.
Closing Out The Night With A Dance
And he even sat through all the awards and even spent a few minutes at the dance before he finally had enough and called it a night. Overall it was a night with a lot of people, a lot of activity, he needed to be on pace and on his best behaviour and he succeeded beyond our wildest expectations. His resource even took the time to have a quick dance with him before he left, something that made him smile even though he has literally no interest in dancing or anything of the kind.
He knew this night was about him and what he had accomplished and it is not hard to see in his behaviour that he was proud of what he had accomplished. And if you had asked us when he started kindergarten, if we would have expected him to have achieved what he has in this amount of time I think we would have had to say no. This was beyond expectations and his perseverance as much as any of us, is the reason he did as well as he did.