This past weekend I had my graduation ceremony at UC San Diego. Michael and my mom joined, and he behaved so well! For being around a large crowd in a new environment, I'm so proud of him for being so patient during the long ceremony.
I'm not sure whether or not Michael understands the concept behind graduation ceremonies. Regardless, my mom said he smiled when she told him that they announced my name.
For this post, I wanted to reflect upon our high school graduation 4 years ago, where I got to walk with Michael up to the stage.
Michael technically did not "graduate" with a diploma. Instead, he got a certificate for his completion of High School, and did not receive his actual diploma until this June, after finishing up his transition program at our neighboring high school.
Beforehand we were a little worried that Michael would not want to walk up to the stage, and that he would get irritated from all of the noise, but luckily we had our own way of circumnavigating that issue. Our school district had given some of the students with special needs iPads, so that they could communicate in a different manner. Since Michael excels by learning through example, we'd always take videos of how to do things on the iPad, replay them for him, and then he'd easily understand the concept.
After filming how we'd walk onto the stage during graduation practice, Michael initially wasn't looking forward to walking up. However, after watching the videos multiple times the night before, Michael was ready to go.
Even in the hot San Diego sun, Michael was incredible. He walked with us without any issues, and when the time came to go up on stage, Michael walked through without any issues.
I'm so proud of Michael and his patience. I continue to be filled with gratitude with his ability to overcome new hurdles outside of his comfort zone.