Friends and family, our boy Nater Tater is FIVE TODAY!!! Can you hear the crowd roar with excitement!?!
We started this blog in January of 2011 right after Nate was diagnosed with autism and just when he started applied behavior analysis in Connecticut’s Birth to Three system. We did this to help our friends and family understand Nate’s diagnosis and give them a way to follow Nate’s progress while allowing us to focus our energy on Nate’s therapy and services. But this blog has grown into something greater. You’ve followed Nate as he graduated from Birth to Three and started public school — and now he’s about to graduate on to Kindergarten! We have a lot of followers — many we know personally and many who we’ve never met and have welcomed us into their lives. We have been able to provide one family’s perspective on autism spectrum disorder and, through our sharing, we have received an amazing support system to help us as we continue to navigate the world with our pretty amazing son.
Last year, we decided to do something for the greater good in honor of Nate’s 4th birthday. Nate truly needs for nothing so we asked friends, family, and fans of this blog to buy Amazon.com gift cards for Ms. Mollie, Nate’s speech pathologist, and Ms. Susie and her wonderful paras, Ms. Julianne, Ms. Sandy, Ms. Mechelle, and Ms. Laura, to buy engaging activities and toys for use in their classrooms. This year, we decided to repeat the gift recipients — in honor of all their work with Nate over the past two years and to leave a little legacy behind as Nate graduates to Kindergarten at a new school with new teachers and new friends.
You all generously responded to the call — and I do mean generously. Last year’s total of $560 is in the rear view mirror. How much did you all contribute to Nate’s 5th Birthday Wish?!? One thousand and ten dollars’ worth of Amazon.com gift cards!!! Lots of awesome fans gave the requested $5 amount. And many gave $5 for each person in their household, including pets! I had to notify the parents in four families that their children–Michael and Gracie, the twins Mimi and Alexander (just five months old!), Will and Hugo, and Hannah and Zoe–borrowed their parents’ credit card to become philanthropic in Nate’s honor! Fifty-eight people made gifts in $5, $10, $15, $20, $25, $30, $40, $50 and $100 increments–and Nate gave $5 from his gifts from Super Grandpa and Mam to the cause, too!
At 2:30P today, I stopped by the birthday boy’s classroom and he helped me hand out the gift cards to his teachers. The ladies were overjoyed to receive the gift cards and had no idea how much we raised this year. When they got to the amount, they gasped! We gave $350 to Ms. Mollie and $660 to Ms. Susie, as Susie does the most work with kids on the autism spectrum. When Susie saw her amount, she hollered instantly, “I’M BUYING ANOTHER IPAD FOR THE CLASS!!!” Susie’s classroom now up to eight kids. She has one iPad for the class. Some kids, like Nate, have their own to communicate with but many don’t and a second iPad will do a world of wonder during one-on-one and group therapy time with the many students in that class. You generous Nater Tater fans enabled that kind of awesomeness!
Susie plans to convert the rest to iTunes gift cards to buy apps that she wants for her students, which means she won’t have to go through the process of requesting a purchase through some system and waiting…and then sending her classroom iPad to another office to have the app loaded…and waiting some more. Mollie said she’s going to think this over as she wants to buy the perfect things to motivate her students. I have no doubt that she’ll pick out some awesome things to engage her students in the most fabulous of ways!
We are humbled by your generosity and even more humbled by the joy and gratitude you shared in the notes to Ms. Susie, her paras, and Ms. Mollie. The small glimpse we have given you of their dedication to Nate and his classmate’s education in academics and life skills has clearly come through — and you all are as grateful to Nate’s educators as we are.
The honor roll of donors (in no particular order) include: The O’Keeffe Family; Corey M.; Eileen W.; Mary, Scott & Madeline H.; Bobbee D.; Dina E.; Janna, Brad, Alayna, and Everly E.; Nico L.; Amanda, Kevin, and Zoey B.; Michael & Gracie B.; Tutu Kathy and Papa Bobby B.; The Wackerly Family; Tracey H.; Sarah, Ashwin & Jai R.; Will & Hugo W.; The Novak Family; Celina; Barbara M.; The Velenchik Family; The Henderson Family; Mam; Rebecca F.; Dale, Chris, Dylan, and Cameron; The Boratko Speisers; The Dolsen Family; Beth C.; Jill C.; Sara; The Noland Family; The Wallingford Family; Tracy B.; Sondra K.; Grace & Evan; Flora S.; The Flynn Family; The Gluth Family & Patchy the Cat; Synge Maher; Bridget F.; Laura, Jaime & Simon; Gretta, Priscilla, & Abraham (one St. Bernard and two cats!); Sarah, Chris & Roosevelt; Mike, Kasey, Addison & Colbie; Meredith Z.; The Hummer Family; Aunt Nan and Uncle Jim; Kathryn Beck; Tutu Sharron E.; The Harlan Family; Kelly R.; Casey Y.; Kourtney K.; The Valentine Family; Jenny D.; Corey M.; The Fahlbusch Family; Super Grandpa; Nicki S.; Blaine, Patty & Mac; The Harde-Perry Family; and Sarah, Jon, Emma, and Henry R.
That’s a lot of gratitude in honor of a little guy! We cannot thank you enough.
Look out, five! Nate’s coming for you!
Stay tuned this week — I’ve got a lot of recent adventures to share with you