A blessed Christmas!
www.criscollrj.com (new)– for online Christmas letter with pictures. We can’t believe that it has been 3 years since we sent a Christmas letter. Quite a few of the old links to our 1990’s web sites are updated on there but not all. Describing more in depth all the changes you might have missed are the 2010/2009 Christmas letters. God has been in the works for our family as always, and we keep trusting as we go, never know what we will see next in this journey.
CHRIS was in his group home for 14 months (Sept. 08 – Nov. 09), and it didn’t quite work out so he has been living with his Mama and Papa since November ’09 (Roger’s parents). Those of you that I have kept notified via blog and Facebook know this, of course, but just reiterating how they have worked wonderfully with him and how much we appreciate their care. Now 21, he also went back to his school of his early childhood, the DD program of our county. He also recently has become eligible for some wonderful aides through our state, two gentlemen and two ladies so /far, and they may have a new residency for him, whenever it seems to be the right time. He also has another company working with him that provides more summer recreation and after school groups. Preparing for graduation this year, and for his adult workshop next fall are other new tasks before us. Learning a new communications program at school this year is keeping him very busy and focused! Additionally, he and Ryan were both recipients of IPad grants (their Christmas gifts!) on which he will receive more therapeutic programs that individuals with autism are using all over the world. He still also has his aide of many years, Vicky, though she is actually leaving soon and will be missed very much!
COLLEEN is a senior in high school this year, so we will be having a dual graduation party! We are busy with paperwork in regard to college and ACT testing this year, and we are excited for the new opportunities she will have, most likely obtaining her Assoc. Degree at in Graphic Arts/Design and then choosing where she will continue. A new chapter. She also worked at a haunted house with her friends this fall and had a good time with that. Last year she sprained her ankle twice but so far this year has not had any mishaps. All these years she has still been involved with her anime group (expanding to individuals all over the NE Ohio area as well as a few from Columbus!), and her love of animals continues. Currently we have still our beloved cat Sophie; plus two betas, Luna and Amethyst; 5 goldfish; 3 tadpoles; and a leopard gecko named Spike.
RYAN is excelling in the fourth grade in his autism class. He is adding columns of large numbers and does spelling tests every week. His artwork is following Colleen’s talent and he also takes after me with playing with his handwriting all the time like I always used to do . . . After having his aide Paula for 3 years she quit to have more time with her own family, and he has begun to attend latchkey 2 days a week for a few hours while I am at school – he loves it and has adjusted very well! My mom also spends lots and lots of time here every few weeks watching him and helping us while I am either working or at school or out of town. All of our parents and extended family are wonderful! What would we do without them?
ROGER still works doing the data entry at many courthouses, and 4 times a year we go together and work very hard to do 3-5 courthouses in 2 days, with the reward of seeing some beautiful scenery in the hills of Southeastern Ohio and Southwestern PA (also seeing some of WVa and Maryland as well) and getting some quality time together. (There are hundreds of pictures on Flickr on our blog going back to the trips we did in February 2009!) We also have dinner with some friends from Maryland, meeting them in Maryland or they meet us in Morgantown. Cleveland State next year seems to be Rog’s plan to obtain credentials to add to his AA, to work as a social worker or psychologist to assist special needs individuals! That is exciting!
DORENE has completed two years of post AA transfer work and initial speech therapy courses, now attending Kent State’s main campus (with any courses at Burton or online being much appreciated!) Before I started my fall semester I had the misfortune of a very bad ankle sprain (my first; I used Colleen’s crutches!) and was happy to be healed up enough by August to start my Kent education, but wore a splint for 3 months. 2014 – 2015 is the graduation goal with a degree in special education teaching, related autism studies, and if my GPA is high enough then (it has to be a 3.8 or so!) the master’s in speech pathology. Having temporarily hung up the transcriptionist headphones, I have had a neat change as a home health aide for seniors – the exercise is very beneficial and the conversation is very interesting and fun! Then returning to my comfort zone I will probably have my transcribing fingers going on a few hearings over the summer while I’m NOT taking classes (after having gone two summers in a row!) On a related note, I was so surprised when I took my Phonetics class this past semester and found out the taking down of the client’s speech during a session was called transcription! Ha ha – talk about tying two different careers together!
Blessings to you all and a very wonderful 2012 to you! Roger, Dorene, Christopher, Colleen & Ryan