We(yes the family) are about to enter the final semester and chapter to Brandon’s life as a high school student.  It seemed like yesterday when we walked him into Kindergarten class the very first day of school.  He was bright eyed and eager to face the new experience in an inclusive classroom.  As a parent, I was very nervous because I didn’t know what to expect.  Can he do it?  Will he have a potty accident?  Will the kids treat him well?  The teacher?  What is it going to be like without an aide to bridge academics and communication?  The questions and angst changed throughout the years, but most of my sleepless nights were the last few years since we moved 2 hours from Brandon’s almost flawless 1st-8th grades.  But, because of  Brandon's high self esteem, focus, determination and tenacity, has kept him undeterred.   He loves everyone and never has an ill word to say about a person. He just chalks it up to people not knowing the "real him".   Brandon’s multiple challenges, issues and obstacles he’s had to face were because of stereotypes, his impaired speech or low IQ , made him want to prove them wrong.  We are thankful for his former teachers, aides, staff and administrators who saw promise in him and gave him many opportunities to build his self esteem and achieve great things.  As his theatre teacher Mr. Schneider used to say, “Don’t underestimate Brandon” and “Bring it B!”  meaning show them who you are; he is and always will, if you will just give him a chance.

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