It’s one week before school starts and I can’t help but think how far my son has come since this time last year. Are there still hurdles to overcome? You bet. But emotionally, he’s doing so much better than he was one year ago.

Last summer, I watched him become a shell of his former self. And he was only seven years old most of that time! It rocked me to my core, and I seriously began to worry about him eventually turning to a life of drugs, alcohol or self-harm to cope with the rejection.

The week before third grade, I decided volunteering might get his mind off things, and make him feel better about himself. I picked the wrong volunteer project, however – stuffing hundreds of backpacks for needy kids. (What was I thinking, right?)

My son became so anxious that he repeatedly asked to leave. Finally, I acquiesced, and we ducked out early.

Don’t give up. You can find answers – and help your child succeed.

This summer has been markedly different, though, in a really good way! I put a lot more thought into the camps he attended. (He’s finishing the last one tomorrow – a half-day camp by RoboThink, which he loves because he gets to code.)

Tonight, as I tucked my son in (and visions of robots probably danced in his head), I gingerly asked him if he knew school was starting in a week. He said that a friend (he has several now) mentioned it this afternoon. I then cautiously asked how he felt about that. Although he was tired, he didn’t seem anxious – at least not more than any other kid about to start fourth grade.

And so, in this moment, I’m incredibly thankful. For answers, for resources, for those who have offered suggestions and tips, and for the opportunity to try to pay it forward and help other families.

I pray that you, my friends, have similar “wins” to celebrate – and that your differently-wired kids feel hope and acceptance, too.

Warm regards,