Mar 25, 2014 0 Share

Changing Course


Young man sailing.
Thinkstock

Reilly’s spring break, which began ominously with a stomach bug and a St. Patrick’s Day blizzard, ended with a hopeful road trip and potentially (fingers tightly crossed) new school.

He arrived home Friday night, and we awoke early Saturday morning to the sound of vomiting coming from his bathroom. Visions of a week of stomach plague, passing from Reilly to Mom to Dad, danced in my head. It did not portend well.

Dad got up to check on Reilly, who soon went back to bed, from which he participated in a video teleconference for his business management class. It was a make-up session, necessary because of the number of snow days his Long Island school has had. Props to Reilly for participating in a make-up class teleconference on his first day of spring break while sick!

And my fears for the week weren’t realized, thank goodness. By that night, Reilly was recovered and eating dinner with us. His stomach bug didn’t spread, and we had a good, productive week. He got to see some friends, had a very good physical check-up and a positive visit to a college he’s applying to for next year.

Nine inches of snow on Monday almost threatened to cancel Reilly’s lab test appointment, which would have meant the results wouldn’t have been back in time for his physical on Thursday. But the doctors’ office opened by late morning, blood was drawn and the results were there when we saw the doctor. The news was all very good. Reilly’s doctor was impressed with the apparent improvements Reilly has made in his diet and lifestyle. Though he has refused to take the vitamin and nutrition supplements the doctor recommended last year, his blood tests showed marked improvement in cholesterol and blood sugar, particularly. Reilly has cut back on soda, seems to be eating better, and is visiting the gym in the evenings with two of his friends at school.

After his physical, we headed to the airport for a trip to Connecticut to visit a four-year college Reilly is interested in. It’s a nice little school with a great learning disabilities support program, and a sports management major that seems right up Reilly’s alley. We met with the admissions office, the LD support office, and the head of the sports management department. Reilly was engaged the entire time, though he seemed to rely on me to do his talking. I had to stop myself from answering for him, not easy for either of us! We left feeling encouraged and hopeful that Reilly could succeed in that environment.

He would only need to take 12 credits to be considered full-time. With supports in place, that might be manageable for Reilly. Taking summer classes could help him stay on track to graduate. And my concerns about his potential isolation at a four-year college were somewhat assuaged by our visit. Kids with learning disabilities, mild autism spectrum disorder and ADD make up about 20 percent of the school’s enrollment. The LD center provides regular opportunities for group activities and recreation, and the school works hard to integrate freshmen into campus life. Reilly’s interest in sports (watching, if not participating) would give him a lot to do on campus.

Reilly had decided that he would return to NYIT’s VIP program next year and “graduate” with his friends. (The Vocational Independence Program is a three-year, non-degree program.) But now he seems enthusiastic about transferring to a degree program, and is already thinking about how he can maintain his VIP friendships from afar.

Now we just have to get accepted. Stay tuned.