Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Learning to fit in.

I believe in every one's life we all have to learn how to fit in and get accustomed to our surroundings and adapt. I know from my experiences that it doesn't happen overnight and we have to first learn about ourselves and our needs and wishes. Once we are comfortable with ourselves then we can reach out and expand our circles and make friendships along the way. As a child I was relatively shy and most times very quiet but I could speak through my talents and abilities. For instance since I was a good athlete I made friends by playing well and as I developed confidence and found a fun and enjoyable sport to play which was baseball I started to fit in and gain acceptance and learn to overcome some aspects of my shyness. I also enjoyed my times alone but it was nice to experience outings with friends and also quiet times alone to do whatever I liked. I enjoyed watching the Mets as a young kid and I enjoyed being a star on my little league baseball team also. I played so well I won the team's most improved player trophy and we won first place in our division and the league championship. I'll never forget being presented my trophies in front of my parents by my coach and having one of the Met catchers attend our awards dinner. It was a big highlight in my life and after the dinner I managed to sum up the courage to ask Duffy Dyer to autograph my trophy and I told him how much I loved the Mets and was so excited to see them win the World Series the year before. He was very nice to me and wished me all the best in my future.

I see my son struggling to fit in and I know it is difficult for autistic children to adapt to change and learn proper social cues. It takes time and I know that and I have a great deal of patience for my son and wish for him to find things that interest him and help involve him in fun activities. I feel that is very important and it is not always that easy to find out and it requires self exploration and a desire to be involved. The first thing our son needs is to feel comfortable in his school setting and we are very involved in helping him and are in touch with his teachers and welcome them to contact us as necessary. Once Matty is comfortable with school and is on the proper schedule and is responsible with doing his homework and chores then we will look into appropriate after school programs. The one thing I am concerned about is that we may have to look for programs off the school grounds and they require financial commitments as they are not covered by the school district. We therefore have to make sure we can find a suitable program that is within a reasonable distance, affordable and that Maria will be available to transport him and pick him up.

It all seemed so much easier when I was a kid. I just got on my bike and rode to a friend's house. Nowadays it seems kids need more parental involvement so they can have fun experiences and the opportunity to play with friends. I find when I was a kid it seemed so much easier to visit friends. For Matthew it is hard to schedule play dates and I feel sad for my son because he is alone a great deal. I wish it was a bit easier to help him establish friendships. The times we live in today seem to be more complicated and requires a lot more parental restrictions and supervision.

Matthew does keep himself busy after he does his homework but he sticks to a routine and I feel if he could experience some sporting or creative outlets he would certainly benefit from it and we would feel happy for him. We will have to start looking into some programs and work it into our budget and see if our son will enjoy participating. I feel weekend activities would serve him well too and would consider finding appropriate programs for him.

It is so important to find yourself and to feel good about yourself. Once you do then it becomes easier to participate in activities and to open up and make friends. I speak to my son about this and encourage him to participate. I know he loves his camp in the summer because he participates with other kids and he enjoys the fun activities and he has counselors who are dedicated and who care for the kids.

I certainly will be the first one with my wife to cheer for Matty in whatever he chooses and we will encourage him and be there to see him as we want him to know how much we want him to be happy and to see him having fun. We want him to fit in with the other kids and to know he is a great kid and worthy of some close friends like I had as a kid growing up.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

To explain to my son.

As a father I have learned that raising a child requires a great deal of understanding, empathy, insight, courage, love, compassion, and a total devotion. I realize that my son is growing and experiencing new things everyday and is experiencing some difficulties as can be expected. We have also been through family tragedy which has affected us in a way that has taken time to understand and cope with. I have tried on occasion to ask my son about his feelings on Pop and not seeing him and all the fun times we shared with him. This has been one of the hardest things I had to talk about with Matthew and I sometimes don't really know how you talk to a child about such a thing. To explain death is hard enough but to discuss suicide is a whole other matter and I am still trying to understand it myself. I have a love for my dad that is very strong and I understand his pain, so deep down I can sympathise with him for this pain and isolation he felt and why he succumbed to his feelings. I however can not explain it to my son and he feels that Pop is just travelling and resting. He does not accept that he is gone. He also does not like to hear about death which I certainly can understand as this is very traumatic for a child and for an autistic child it is far more traumatic and can affect them in a way that can be life altering so we must allow him to deal with this in his own way and really not discuss it as he gets very upset.

We have had similar reactions for the September 11th tragedy as Matthew was a toddler when that tragic event took place and he had seen the brutal images of the planes crashing into the towers and seeing them come down in news broadcasts over the years and those are very frightening images. I also have a very difficult time discussing this with him and his reaction is similar as he says that it never happened and it was just a movie and the towers still stand. I know the reality but I will let my son think the way he wishes on this since I am very concerned for his mental well being. I do however try to explain to him that we live in a world where we have to be very careful and unfortunately we can not be so trusting. It is a very sad reality and it makes us realize that there is a lot of pain and suffering and we can not always shield our children from this.

I have seen such sadness in the eyes of young children from news reports and commercials addressing the problems of starvation and poverty in the world and in our own country. It's enough to make you cry and feel that we should be doing something to help but we are trying to survive ourselves as the world we live in is so competitive and it seems difficult enough just trying to make a living. The times we live in are so stressful and is leading to crisis, breakdowns, depression and distrust in all that we were led to believe. We are losing trust in the people we vote into office and feel we will pay the price as will our children and their children. It is a very dire situation and it seems that we will feel the effects for quite some time.

So as parents my wife and I try our best to talk to Matthew and help him in dealing with the difficulties he encounters. We have him on medication and visiting with a psychologist and a psychiatrist. For me it seems he's a bit young for all of this but I feel we need to help him and the most important thing in understanding an autistic child is trying to let them know that they should discuss their feelings and communicate so we as parents can help him. We are certainly encouraged by his progress and intelligence. We know that socially and emotionally he needs to grow and experience more so he can improve in these areas and that is the main reason we are seeking counselling treatment for him.

I remember having discussions with my parents as a child and I had their trust and they had my trust and that is what I am letting Matthew know is that he can talk with us any time and we will always be there to help him. I would do anything to help my son as he is the shining beacon in our life and he gives me the strength to face another day.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Monday, September 28, 2009

Quiet times and internet surfing.

I've grown to appreciate times of peaceful silence and the times I have to myself as I can gain perspective and realize how lucky I am to have a loving wife and son. I am so in love with Maria and Matthew and they give me great joy. I feel it is healthy to have times where we can be alone occasionally and think of all that is important to us. I much prefer our times together but given my work schedule sometimes I am home late when my wife and son are already asleep. During these times I reflect and do research on various issues that affect us personally.

I have used the internet a great deal to learn about autism, epilepsy, parent support groups that meet to discuss such matters, schools for children with disabilities, camp and after school programs and legal planning for children with disabilities. I am amazed how much information is literally at your fingertips and how much I have learned over the years. I am always learning as we know Matthew's condition will be something that will affect him throughout his childhood into his adulthood so we need to properly plan for his future and also save for his educational needs after high school.

I have also learned that there are places that train dogs to help children with epilepsy and also children with autism. They are trained to come to the aid of these children in the aftermath of a seizure or autistic meltdown and they may even be able to detect when a seizure is imminent. We have considered this as an option for our son if his epilepsy became more prevalent. The thought of having a family dog even if not trained may be a good idea for our son as a companion. Matthew seems to enjoy befriending dogs as he enjoys visiting with my sister who has 3 dogs of differing sizes and he enjoys playing and interacting with them.

I also use the internet as a social utility with the advent of Facebook, MySpace and Youtube I have been able to connect with family, old friends and new friends who are in some way affected by autism, epilepsy or both like us. I find it helpful to connect with others as it takes my mind off my worries and concerns for a little while and allows me to write and converse. I have also enjoyed getting back in touch with old high school friends both male and female and have been touched by some of them as they had helped me in dealing with the loss of my dad. I was able to write things in tribute to my dad and had a lot of friends leave me comments that helped me through it and one of the girl's from my high school was so helpful with her support and writings that I was excited to meet her and her husband at our high school reunion and she really touched me when she gave me a big hug. She said she was looking forward to seeing me and made the trip from Tennessee so she could comfort me in my time of need. She literally brought a tear to my eyes as she made me feel special. I was so happy to reconnect with her and owe it to Facebook.

I also enjoy spending time with my son and we watch his favorite movie clips on youtube and some of his favorite music artist's videos. He also enjoys watching domino videos and we get quite a kick out of watching them.

Since we started accessing the internet it seems that it is a daily part of our lives and when we are not able to access it we can get a bit frustrated as it now seems like a necessity now that we can do so much more nowadays.

I told my wife about Facebook and how I have been able to connect with so many people and she seems reluctant but I feel if she signed up she would be able to get in touch with her family and friends from the Philippines. It is amazing how far reaching the internet is and how much you can benefit from using it.

So when I have some alone time I will have my rhapsody playing in the background with my favorite music as I search the internet to learn how I can help my son and family and make a few more friends in the process.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It all starts with family.

The love and support of family is so important in growing and developing and becoming independent. I grew up with all the love and support I ever needed and a lot of guidance and parental advice. My parents were always there for my sisters and I and they would always make themselves available to us and they would respect us and also let us make our own decisions. I felt that I could talk to my parents about most everything with some exceptions as I believe there are somethings I just kept to myself and wished not to talk about and I respected my parents and knew I could always talk with them no matter what and that was very reassuring to me.

Maria and I talk to our son and let him know that we are always here for him and will always listen and advise him as he grows. We want him to know that we love and support him and will do all we can to provide him the best we can as parents. We want him to grow and develop and have self confidence and feel good about himself. It is so important to teach your kids that they can follow their dreams and they can strive to be their best.

As a young family we try to spend as much time together as we can and do realize we all have busy schedules so when we do have the time to spend together we feel it is important to involve our son and allow him to decide on some fun things to do for the day. I enjoy when we take day trips to the museum or aquarium or family outings to the beach. Matthew loves the ride out to Montauk point which is always a fun trip to make. We also enjoy catching a baseball game together to see the Mets, Yankees or the Ducks. I prefer going to Duck games because they are much closer and much more friendlier on the wallet and Matty enjoys the activities there and I think the quality of baseball is great. We also enjoy seeing movies together and for the couple of hours we are there it is an enjoyable experience. Another fun thing we like to do as a family with our son is bowling and miniature golf. When we go on family vacations we always try to find a miniature golf course which is something Matthew always enjoys especially the well designed courses with themes.

This is a nice time of the year to take some day trips and we always enjoy driving upstate to go apple picking or drive out East on the Island to go pumpkin picking and hay riding. With the changing season it is a beautiful time when the autumn leaves change colors. The colors of the leaves as Matty reminds me are brown, yellow, red, orange and light green and it is fun to see the changing colors and to take pictures.

This is a nice time of the year as we all start preparing for the holidays and we look forward to getting together with family relatives and ringing in the holidays. We also relive the memories of past holidays when we remember our parents who were so special to us. Matty still likes to write his Christmas wish list to Santa Clause and he looks forward to his visit on Christmas Day.

It is important that we teach our son the real meaning of Christmas and not focus on all the commercial aspects of the holidays. We teach him that Christmas is the birth of Christ and that it is a special time to get together with family and friends.

The first introduction to the holiday season that Matty enjoys is Halloween because he enjoys giving out candy to all the kids in the neighborhood and counting how many kids came. After he gives out a generous amount of candy he looks forward to mom or dad taking him around the neighborhood to go trick-or-treating. He enjoys picking out his costume and will probably choose SpongeBob for his costume.

Another holiday Matty likes is Thanksgiving and he explains to us that the meaning of this holiday is the friendships formed between the Pilgrims and the Indians and how they gathered together to feast and celebrate in 1620 at Plymouth Rock. One thing he loves to watch on TV is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and he enjoys watching all the floats. He would love to see them being made the day before and has asked me if I could take him sometime and I tell him I will try my best to take him.

As we celebrate another year passing we realize how important it is to spend time with our son together and enjoy the good times and see our son doing well in school. We try to teach him to have confidence, to show respect, and to make friends in his new school. We very much care for his well being and want him to be happy and to succeed. This is what I feel is our main goal. It all starts with family as I learned as a kid and as a parent.

Edward D. Iannielli III
Helped by Matty Iannielli (my son)

100th post

The dreams we hold on to.

We are influenced by many things in our life and we make many choices throughout our lives and along the way we dream many dreams as young kids. I remember as a young kid growing up and watching baseball games with my mom who sparked my interest in the game and wishing one day to be a major league ball player. I was so excited watching the Mets climb from mediocrity to world champions in a few years since I started watching them and when 1969 played out it was so very exciting. We all got caught up in the excitement of the Mets, even my dad and sister Kathy. My sister Joanie was too young but we put a Met cap on her head too as we all were Met fans. I believe dreams are very important and they are our hopes and wishes nicely crafted together with our emotions, desires and childhood innocence interwoven together. As we get older our dreams do change but the one thing that remains constant is that we do continue to dream and reach for those ideals. Eventually our dreams if realistic become goals we set for ourselves.

As a young kid growing up in Brooklyn, New York I had many dreams and would usually find myself dreaming of things that connected me with my boyhood interests. Since I enjoyed sports as a kid I dreamed a lot about baseball and my heroes like Roberto Clemente, Willy Mays, Henry Aaron and Tom Seaver. I dreamed I could run the bases like Roberto Clemente after lining a single into the outfield. I dreamed I could make spectacular catches in the outfield like Willy Mays. I dreamed I could hit mighty home runs like Henry Aaron (Hammerin' Hank) and I dreamed I could strikeout the best hitters of the game like Tom Seaver. It was a fun time for me and I lived to watch baseball and become a Met fan and a baseball fan as I loved ballplayers on other teams as well. I had a childhood innocence that enabled me to dream and strive to do my best as I was a well behaved and impressionable kid.

As I grew my love for the game grew as well but my dreams of playing major league baseball were tempered with reality so I focused on more practical dreams as I knew I would not be the next Pete Rose but my enthusiasm was good and I learned to dream from my parents.

For me 1969 was an exciting year also because the challenge our late president John F Kennedy promised for our country during his short term in office to launch an astronaut to the moon and safely return him back was realized on July 20th 1969 when Neil Armstrong made his first steps on the moon and his famous quote "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." As I viewed this with my family in our living room it was an amazing thing to witness and it made me realize all the efforts our country made based on the words of a revered president who died so tragically. It propelled my dreams to new heights and made me realize there should be no limits to what you can dream and hope to achieve in life.

I had many dreams throughout my life and had learned that not all we dream is viable but we should still dream and never stop dreaming. I learned this from my parents and also teach this to my son. I tell Matthew that he should always dream and never let anyone discourage him from his dreams as our dreams are very important and our dreams keep us young and always thinking in a positive way. We always should realize that we can achieve great things and always should be optimistic about all we attempt. Matthew needs special encouragement and prompting and he has dreams that are pretty special. Matthew has a good heart and his dreams center around helping others and making the world a better place. He has very noble ideas and he has a true spirit of giving and is very empathetic. Our son is very special and I enjoy talking with him about his dreams and hopes and I always encourage him and will always encourage him because I love him and want him to do his best in whatever he chooses in his life to do and Maria and I will be there for him along the way.

So what I learned as a kid from my parents, my teachers, my experiences and my dreams I pass on to my son and I learn from him and hopefully he learns something beneficial from me that will help him as he grows. Dreams are wonderful and they are what makes our lives have meaning and gives us hope.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's all a mystery to me!

Life is a wonderful gift and a vast mystery. I often wondered about the meaning of life and how we are all here by a twist of fate. I often wondered if my parents had not met how life would be so much different. I would not have had this wonderful opportunity and I am very fortunate that my parents did meet. To me it seems like a miracle that our parents met and our lives came to be. It all seems so complex and it seems there is so much chance and luck being involved. I often wondered if I never went to see a psychologist during my time of despair a few years after my mom died if I would still have met Maria. I feel we were destined to meet and I feel my mom was responsible in a way because I felt a great need to seek help and was fortunate enough to get the help I needed and be introduced through the psychologist's help to Maria. By Maria and I meeting through the help of God, my mom and the psychologist we were blessed to bring Matthew into the world. This to me is a miracle and the best gift we have ever experienced in our life.

It seems so incredible when you try to trace your family roots and how far back it seems to go. It is so very hard to go back past three generations but it seems you can go back so far and what seems even more incredible is that we have relatives that were born so long ago and are now gone as far as centuries ago. To me it is hard to grasp and yet by all our past family members coming together helped in us coming into this world and hopefully we will play a part in others coming into the world years from now. This is why Life is so wonderful and so mysterious and we are all here by sheer luck.

It also seems a bit sad that some are never born because the people who were supposed to meet never did. I can think of instances where this is so true. During wartime when you think of all the young men and women who served their country with pride and courage who were of age to marry and have families never had the opportunity because they died far too soon and far too young serving their country. In some cases men who recently became fathers for the first time or having more than one leaving their young wives behind with children also dying in action and their wives being left alone to raise their children having hoped to have them back and wishing they could have had more children. It just seems so sad and upsetting when you think about it. I also get sad when I think of all the young men and women who died on September 11th who were planning to marry and have families or who were expecting their first only to die is such a heartache and so difficult to imagine. Just imagining what could have been and how drastic the changes as a result that can never ever be measured. Another sad and tragic event that led to the deaths of so many was the Holocaust where life for so many had changed and it is unimaginable how many young families were exterminated and the possibility of life for so many tragically taken away. It all makes no sense and I often wonder why tragedies like these occur. It just seems so cruel and makes absolutely no sense.

This is why we should be so grateful for being given this wonderful gift of life and we should do all we can to be good and kind and loving and to provide our best for our children and families. We are all here and are so very lucky and privileged.

To ponder the mystery of life will only make you think about all the possibilities and seem more amazed how we are born into the world and blessed with life. It truly is like winning the lottery because the odds are so low and the possibilities so many.

I am very honored to be here and so happy to have my wife and son in my life and for having wonderful parents and sisters. Life is grand and I am blessed to be living life and one of my favorite movies is "It's a wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. I feel that one person does make a difference in life as the movie portrays.

We teach Matthew the beauty and meaning of life so he will grow to appreciate it and know that his mommy and daddy love him so very much and are so very proud of him.

Life is a mystery and Life is wonderful!

Edward D. Iannielli III

Living in the moment.

Sometimes I feel it is best to live in the moment rather than thinking about every little thing in your life which brings on worry and affects you in all aspects of your life. When I live in the moment I feel content and am very happy with the experiences that are pleasant. I can remember back to times when I was living in the moment and everything around me seemed to be a blur but in that experience I was living through I can remember everything as if it recently happened. I believe when you live for the day and find joy you are contributing to finding peace, joy and happiness in your life. Instead of being consumed with worry you are enjoying life and living each day as it happens. Obviously there is planning in life and schedules to adhere to but changing how you think and approach things seems to make a difference. Also when you live in the moment you are confronted with sad times also and have to learn to approach each day in a way that helps you cope and learn to handle the sad times we all experience.

One such day that clearly sticks out in my mind where I was living in the moment was my wedding day when time seemed to stand still for that brief moment in time and my wife and I enjoyed the whole day and I admired my wife in her beautiful wedding gown and thought I was in heaven marrying someone very special and beautiful. I felt very blessed and happy that day sharing it with family and friends. The joy I felt that day never goes away and I can think back to that very special day and remember being very happy and being very appreciative to my dad who was responsible for giving us this special day and my psychologist, Michele who brought Maria and I together.

Another day I clearly remember frozen in time was the day when my wife announced to me that she was pregnant and I was so delighted and all my dreams had come true that day as I always wanted to experience the birth of a child and from that day on was the beginning of such joy and happiness as I eagerly awaited the birth of our son.

When Maria gave birth it was the beginning of a new chapter in our life and I was so thrilled. I remember Matthew's birth so clearly and so vividly and I remember all the nurses and doctors there as the happiest moment in our life came true and we welcomed Matthew. I love thinking back to that very special day as that was and will always be the very happiest day of our lives. I remember seeing Maria cradling Matthew for the first time and the nurse giving Matthew his first cleaning and seeing the joy on my wife's face and the pride my dad had in having another grandchild and seeing Matthew for the first time.

In living in the moment we also remember days of sadness and times that are difficult as I remember learning when Matthew had his first seizure and it was a very unsettling feeling and one that caused me a great deal of anxiety and worry which affected me in a way that brought the reality of the situation to me in the fore front. I knew we had to seek medical assistance for our son as we were dealing with something very serious and had to find the proper way to help him. We learned that Matthew had been diagnosed with epilepsy and had to take medication daily to help control it. We managed to get through the difficulties and felt better about Matthew's situation once he started seeing a medical professional and starting on medication that will help him.

When we learned that Matthew was also diagnosed as autistic it was a very difficult reality to get accustomed to and I remember having helpless feelings and a lot of uncertainty. We needed to rely on people who could help our son and us with all the questions going through our minds and help us in dealing with our feelings of helplessness. Once we started making steps in the right direction and getting Matthew into early intervention we felt better about his situation and we were delighted with all the speech and language therapists and teachers that came into his life from the beginning. As he made progress we felt better for him and wanted to make sure he continued to do so.

When Matthew attended school for the first time and the bus came to pick him up it was a first for him and for us and it was another pleasant memory that has always stayed with us and reminds us of how quickly he is growing.

As we grow as a family I enjoy all the happy memories and the challenges and look upon our experiences as necessary in growing and meeting the demands of life.

There are moments in time that are very sad to that make me think back and bring tears of sadness to my eyes. One such moment was when I learned of my mother's death. When I learned of my father's death which was recent I had felt a major part of my life had gone as I felt with my mother as well. Now that they are both gone I hold on to all the special memories that helped shape me and made me a better person.

There are moments of great sadness to that have caused me great pain even though I was not directly connected to them but felt I had to reach out and the one's that come to mind in the order I remember them were as follows:

The assassination of John F. Kennedy
The assassination of Robert F. Kennedy
The assassination of Martin Luther King
The Apollo launching tragedy
The assassination of John Lennon
The Challenger tragedy
The Oklahoma City tragedy
The World Trade Center tragedy
The Columbine HS massacre
The September 11th tragedy
The Virginia Tech massacre

These are events that froze time in a terrible way and brought great sadness to many. We have to try to get through these sad times and strive to do the best we can and live lives that inspire and help others. We are here for a short while and we are judged for all the good we do and our mission should be taken seriously and if we are fortunate to be blessed with children it is our responsibility to nourish them, protect them, guide them and teach them so they can live meaningful and happy lives.

So I will choose to live life in the moment and do the very best I can for my family and live a life that is both meaningful and helpful to others. I am blessed and am fortunate to have been given life and for being blessed with sharing life with all that are very special to me.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Friday, September 25, 2009

Picking yourself up and appreciating what you have.

It's only natural to feel sad and sometimes depressed when you experience difficult events in life as we all do. The best we can do in instances when we are experiencing such feelings is to talk to our spouse and family and maintain the same type of regimen we always have so we don't get so self absorbed. It is also important to seek help from a doctor or professional as it is quite normal to have such feelings. As we get older we are confronted with life changing events such as the loss of our parents, the reality that our children will eventually grow up and become independent, the concern for our personal health, the concern for our loved one's personal health and so much more. Life is ever changing and we try to make the best of it as we experience such changes. It is important to work through our feelings and not ignore them.

I tend to like my times of being alone in certain instances and other times being surrounded by my wife, son, mother-in-law and my friends and family. Its important to recognize when you need your privacy and when you need to be with others.

I tend to absorb myself in my work so I don't think so much and it helps me get through the difficult times and I feel so much better when I am progressing with my assignments and not worrying about personal matters. It is important to maintain balance and to know when to separate the two. When I know I am spending a late night at work I make it a point to call my wife and son to tell them I love them and that I will be home late. They know during tax season that my work schedule is demanding and I will have my share of late nights.

It is very important to be attentive to your feelings and to not ignore them and if necessary seek a form of treatment whether it be medical or a form of counseling. I have made the decision to seek my doctor and he has prescibed medication which seems to help me with dealing with sad feelings and depression. I have been also trying to be attentive to my wife's and son's needs as well and recognize the importance of spending time with them and valuing our time together as a family.

Music and writing are very calming for me and when I choose to be alone at times I seem to enjoy listening to my music and writing about things important to me. I feel it is very important to chronicle your experiences and write about them because it makes you more aware of yourself and helps you connect more. Since writing I feel I have come to understand myself and my family more and know what is important in life. I want to write all my feelings down because when it is my time I don't want to have unanswered questions. I am lucky to have my own family and to have such loving family and friends and work responsibilities and memories of my parents. Although things have changed in my life I do recognize that I am the same person and no matter what I will always be the same person and it is important to try to live life and do my best for my family, my sisters and their families, my parents memory, my employer, my friends, my charities and myself.

My main focus obviously is my family, my responsibilities to my son and helping him get a fine education and giving him the proper attention, guidance, nurturing and love he needs ,my responsibilities to my wife and being there for her and communicating more, my responsibilities to my employer and their clients, my responsibilities to family and friends and my responsibilities to myself.

I feel we have no guarantees in life and we are lucky enough to have what we have and we try to make the best of it and do all we can so we can have fulfilling lives and leave our children with the knowledge and confidence to live their lives and to appreciate all they have and to strive to be their very best. My dad had done all this and for him he felt his time was finished as he did all he possibly could for all of us and we are blessed for it and I have learned so much from him and mom. All I can say to him and mom as I miss them both so very much is this,

Dear Mom and Dad,

I love you both so very much and I am so very grateful for all you have done for us and all you had given us as children and as adults even though we were always children in your eyes. I have so many wonderful memories of you both and I will cherish them and make sure I carry on as a loving parent to my son as you did for me, Kathy and Joanie. I am saddened to lose you both but know you did your best in raising us and I am very lucky knowing I had you both in my life as I feel very lucky to have Maria and Matthew in my life as well. I can honestly say that you both made me a truly caring and loving person and made me feel compassion and a sense of purpose and for that I am very grateful.

Thank you for all you have done and all you have given us throughout our lives and thank you Dad for always being there for me and my family. Your love for Matthew made such a difference and he misses you so much. Mom, we love you and know you are taking good care of Dad.

I am so grateful to you both and will say goodbye for now! I love you so very much.

Your son,

Edward D. Iannielli III
and his family

Maria Jesusa Gonzales Iannielli
Matthew Iannielli

Terrisita Napoles Gonzales

Thursday, September 24, 2009

September Blues

It's officially the end of summer and the start of a new school year for Matthew. We actually are eager for our son this September as he starts a new school and we have already experienced a taste of what a school day is like for him. We are happy with his teachers and his curriculum and feel this school should be a better fit for him. As we all know it is always a bit sad to see summer go and fall begin as we all are a bit nervous and excited with the start of a new school year. I always remember as a kid having the September Blues but would quickly get over it once I started the first week. I sense Matty also felt sad and a bit nervous but we talked to him about starting a new school and reminded him that he should be excited and always strive to bring out his best. He is a bright boy and certainly capable of doing well and making friendships.

I remember my mom and dad would give me advice and guidance and all the love and support I needed to get through the difficult times I experienced and they made sure I was settled in and doing my best. I feel things are similar with us in how we approach discussing school with our son and we also know how important it is to guide Matty and support him as he progresses throughout the school year.

We want Matty to look forward to school and to enjoy learning and to maintain his curiosity and desire to learn. We always feel he is very capable of achieving success and enjoying the school experience. One thing that school will provide for our son which he needs is structure. It is very important for Matty to be on a regular schedule and maintain consistency. The program he is in is suitable for his grade level and he has a small class so he will get the individual attention he needs. Matty needs to be monitored and closely watched as he does get easily distracted so one of the areas the teachers are working on with him as we do at home is teaching him to focus and complete the work expected of him. He has the ability but needs prompting and rewards. Eventually we hope the prompting will become less as he hopefully will learn what is expected of him. It takes time but we are very encouraged as we do like his teachers and we feel he likes his new school and his teachers too.

When I ask Matty about the subjects he likes he usually indicates that he enjoys all his subjects but his most favorite are math and art. He also likes science and reading. I was always interested in math after I was mentored by my kindergarten teacher who was working together with her assistant teacher and my mom. I remember my kindergarten teacher and her assistant because they left such a great impression on me for taking such an interest in my development with the aid of my mom. Mrs. Blackbear and Mrs. Rubin were very helpful and I owe them and my mom my sincere gratitude as they helped me learn math and eventually gave me the interest to enjoy it and excel in it. My dad also was there to help me and encourage me with mom.

Maria is very attentive to Matty and helps him with his homework assignments. When he has a problem with his math assignment I help him and it brings back so many wonderful memories and I take the same interest in teaching him that my mom and kindergarten teachers took in me. Life has a way of teaching us what is most important as I want my son to be confident in his math skills and hopes he really enjoys the challenge of it.

So Matty has now been in school for 2 full weeks and is now starting to adjust and is making progress and we are happy that he is comfortable in his new setting and likes his teachers. We know Matty needs a lot of support and guidance and we realize it will take time for him to make a complete adjustment and as time goes on we feel very optimistic for him. Oh the joy of a new school year is here once you get past the blues after the first week.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Maintaining sense of calmness.

I feel I need to try to be distant at times from all who know me and at times very close and personal. I believe it is very important to be a bit of both and it is also very important to know when you need to distance yourself from what is happening in your life and take a step back and just try to deal with things around you in a way that will get you through and keep you safe and protected. I have been very good at keeping my feelings in check and living my life in a way my parents would be proud. I am very kind and respectful of others and I never have a criticism of anybody as by my nature I tend to be a very agreeable and easy going person similar to my dad. I am also very compassionate and caring and probably on the sensitive side like my mom. I benefited from both my parents. I have learned through day to day life that we have our good days and we have our days of great joy and happiness and we have our days of great sadness and anguish. It is the reality of life and we are not immune from it. I know as a parent I have days where I have great difficulty in letting go and seeing my son grow up as I wish we could hold on to his youth and innocence but the reality is our son will grow into adulthood one day and hopefully will be equipped to face the world as we have learned to. I want my son to have a life where he can do as he wishes and get an education that will enable him to strive and achieve great things. It is only natural for us to want better for our kids as that was our parents hopes and dreams for my 2 sisters and I.

I have learned over the years that it is better to face things in life with a sense of understanding, awareness, and an even keel disposition. Maintaining calmness gives you clarity in how you approach dealing with a situation and it helps you get through difficult times in a way that makes you stronger and better as a person. I wouldn't say I am becoming hardened as a person by approaching life this way but am maintaining realism and being honest with myself. I also feel that I have experienced enough in life that I am really not surprised at anything anymore and I am very tolerant and never judgemental of others. I am very understanding and supportive and would only be encouraging as this is how I was taught. We need to appreciate what makes people different or unique and try to understand them.

My son is a very cute and wonderful child who has such wonderful qualities and he sometimes is prejudged and labeled and I don't want him to go through life this way. I understand the need to identify the reason a child is treated differently and why a label of the condition is important but I don't want my son to feel like he is different from other children and therefore will always have to live by a label. I want him to go forward and live his life and take on challenges and set goals and strive for success. It would be a disservice to him if we discouraged him from following his heart and doing what he dreams. We want our son to feel like a part of the crowd in a sense so he doesn't have to feel different but also want him to know that he does have special qualities that make him special and will allow him to do whatever he wishes in his life. We will always let him know this and to never have him think less of himself. I will also try to teach him to deal with life's changes in a way where he will be strong and equipped to deal with the sad times and the disappointments as that is so very important.

I have been dealing with several things that have made me feel a bit depressed and I was honest enough with myself to realize I needed to talk with a professional and seek medication to ease my sad feelings. It is very important to recognize when a situation seems too overwhelming and you need to seek help. There is nothing wrong with these kind of feelings as it only proves that we are human and do have times when we need to take care of ourselves so we can be strong and get through the pain and be stronger for our loved ones. It is a sign of maturity and a sense of realizing you need to take care of yourself. Sometimes a hug from a friend will help make the difference or a compliment on doing a good job. I have learned in life that words of encouragement and praise for doing good and maintaining a sense of calmness and composure is far better than harsh words of criticism and insult and screaming and yelling which are destructive and cause more harm than good. I will always give my son a boost and kind words to help him. I would never want to hurt or make him feel bad. This only make things worse and for my son it is very important to help build him up and give him confidence and provide him with nurturing and understanding.

I feel in life that if we are calm and composed it helps us deal with all of life's challenges and makes us more equipped to better deal with things as they come up. Life is so unpredictable and we always have to be prepared and by staying calm and focused is probably the best way to be. I have tried to live this way since I was a young man in my 20's and still try to live this way as a husband and a father and a son and a brother and a working man and whatever else I am portrayed as.

The best thing in life is knowing that we are all here for a reason and we have a purpose and by living a life of humbleness and working to do your best with your God given ability and maintaining inner peace and calmness and taking care of your family and reaching out to help your family, friends and all who are part of your life is all we can ask for. This is what I will help teach my son so he can feel a sense of peace and joy and know he should always strive to do his best.

This is what my parents did, This is what I do and this is what I will teach my son to do.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Effective therapy for autism.

When you decide on therapies to assist your child in helping them with adapting and growing despite their diagnosis of Autism you will find various alternatives. The traditional method of effectively treating behavioral and social difficulties associated with autism is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Basically with this method of intervention you focus on helping the child with problem behaviors and try to implement methods of behavior modification and reward through positive reinforcement for improving and changing improper behaviors. In treating autism there are many ups and downs but every little accomplishment made is significant and helps the child in gaining confidence and improving their social and behavioral skills. The ABA method will help contribute in aiding the child in learning to become more independent in various surroundings and adapting to changes and helping them make progress with behavior and in socialization.

Floortime is another popular method of treating an autistic child and the method focuses on getting on the child's level by interacting with them and addressing their needs and helping them in acquiring the skills to help them with socialization through one on one communication and emotional expression.

Occupational therapy is another common method used for treating autism by addressing fine motor skills, social skills, coping skills, play skills and self help skills in improving quality of life and providing the autistic child with the necessary skills to have a meaningful and enjoyable life through the collaborative effort of doctors, school professionals and the autistic child's family.

Dietary therapies are also an effective way of treating autism such as a Gluten Free and Casein Free diet. The theory is that the proteins associated with gluten usually wheat based or Casein usually milk based is absorbed differently in autistic children and this affects the brain and how the autistic child learns, interacts and behaves. By eliminating these proteins in autistic children the associated problems seem to diminish based on observations but these tests are not conclusive.

Other therapies involve teaching autistic children the importance of bonding with animals and nature. There are places available where children can learn to ride on ponies and horses and gain confidence and lasting memories that help them to have fun and to learn to express themselves and make friends and bond with animals. Dogs also serve as animals suited to bond with autistic children. Dogs are also trained to help autistic children through difficult times and make great companions.

Arts and Music serve as wonderful areas of self expression and also help in reaching autistic children and help them expand their minds and their creativity and provide them with wonderful experiences and help them gain confidence and teach them very important skills.

The dedication of teachers, doctors, parents, and other professionals who seek to provide the proper services and methods to help autistic children make strides are truly necessary and very much appreciated because this is so very crucial to helping autistic children succeed and learn to live complete and full lives with promising futures. We are all working together to help these kids have a chance so they can use their talents and shine. It does take the efforts of so many to help just one autistic child and in the long run it is well worth it.

Autistic children are special and they too deserve a chance!

Edward D. Iannielli III

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A day in our life.

As I wake to face another day I ready myself for the work day and make sure Maria and Matty are fine and getting ready for their days at work and school. Maria always prepares Matty for the day and sees that he has his medicine and she gets him ready for the school bus. She is very good at preparing him for his school day as I am getting ready for work. Since we only have one bathroom we all have to plan around each other since we are all up around the same time of 6:00 am. Usually Maria gives Matthew a shower in the morning first and then gets him dressed and grandma makes his breakfast while Maria freshens up. After she dresses then I shave and wash up. I usually take a shower the night before so I don't have to rush as much in the morning. Once we are all dressed and ready we spend a little time together before we all go on our way. I give my wife and son a hug and kiss before I leave for work and always ask her to call me during the day.

I remember when I needed help if my car was in for servicing or I had to have my paycheck deposited I could always rely on my dad to help me and he was always reliable and always dependable. I remember he would call me almost every day to see how my family and I were doing and he always made me feel better when we spoke. He was a great dad and he had the biggest heart. I miss not having him around and I especially miss his visits with Matthew and his phone calls during the day.

Life has changed but a day in my life relatively has not as I know the responsibilities that lie ahead of me. I am very responsible to my employer and their clients. I work for a firm where I enjoy my work and I have a lot of respect for the partners and coworkers. I am grateful to work for nice people who have understood and supported me through our son's issues with school and our recent loss of my dad. I have been very fortunate and I also am very happy to work at the clients offices as they are all professional and so kind. I have been a CPA since 1990 and have worked for a number of firms and also in private industry and I feel this is the best firm I worked at because they are like a family and they work professionally and are dedicated to their clients.

My responsibilities to my wife and son come without question as they are the center of my life and I am very fortunate to have them in my life. They give me strength and encouragement when I sometimes feel down and they are always in my corner as I am always in their corner. Family is so important as I have learned and we always need to remember that because we all need each other and we need to be there for our son who is the focal point. He is what keeps us all on the ball.

I am also responsible for myself and I need to make sure I am in good health and that I see my doctor when I need to as I have a family and they need me. I am taking medicine to help me deal with the loss of my dad and it helps though I still have those days where I miss him and feel sad but I remember going through a period of time feeling the same way when I lost my mom. As time passes it gets a little easier but it is very sad when you lose your parents as they meant the world to me and now I have to move forward as I know that is what my dad wants for me. I also need to be true to myself and live for my family as we all need each other and I rely on my wife and son and they rely on me. My mother-in-law lives with us and we are very fortunate to have her as she does wonders and is very good with Matthew and he enjoys her company and she loves him very much.

I am also very fortunate to have 2 sisters who have been very supportive and always include us in family celebrations. We enjoy seeing them and we are grateful for having them and their families in our life. It is a bit sad knowing Dad is not there anymore to share in a family get together but we all are there for each other and keep each other strong and offer our support for each other.

As the workday draws to a close I call my wife to tell her I'm on my way home and that I love her and Matthew and her mom. I look forward to seeing my wife and son when I get home. If I get home late they are already asleep so I give them both a kiss and wait till the morning to greet them once again.

I then eat my dinner, take a shower and wind down til I feel sleepy. Then I go to sleep knowing I am very lucky for my work, my family and that I'm doing fine. That is a day in my life with my wonderful family.

Edward D. Iannielli III

The gift of learning each day.

Every day I wake I am very happy as it is gift and I get to share it with the ones I love. I learned in life that we should never take things for granted as we are only here for a short while and we need to always remember that. We must try to make the most of each day we are here and live it to the fullest. Life is a wonderful gift which offers great joy, disappointments, sorrow and challenges along the way. We try to learn from these experiences and treasure the memories of the past and our childhood which brings a smile to my face because they were special times and give me wonderful insight in how I relate to my wife and son today.

My parents were responsible for giving me a wonderful upbringing with my two sisters, a proper education and the values of respect, dedication and perseverance. They taught me to try my best and to always be a kind and caring person and to live a life full of promise and joy. I have learned a lot from them and I am inspired by them and their memory. I feel sad that they are no longer here to share my life and family with them and I feel an emptiness and a loss but realize we must honor them and cherish their memory and live our lives knowing that they were a big part of our lives and still are. I am still learning and I live one day at a time and try to teach my son the same things my parents and teachers taught me.

As a parent I learned that understanding and patience are very important in raising a child and certainly when that child is autistic you need to have a lot of compassion and perseverance in addition to understanding and patience. My wife and I have had times where we were not sure how to address some behaviors exhibited by our son and sometimes our inclination is to explain that the behavior exhibited is not proper and we try to reinforce that the behavior is not acceptable and should not occur again but have learned that this is not always going to work. As a result we need to speak to professionals for more insight as it is not always that straightforward in dealing with an autistic child.

By nature I am a very private person and feel I am a very understanding and caring person and I am very respectful of others and will try my best to help others as this is what my parents instilled in me. One other thing I learned from my parents is that you can not help someone else until you help yourself and your loved ones. So my goal is to try to be the best person I can and to help my son be the best person he can with my wife's love and support. If there is anything I can do to help my son I will because he is my pride and joy and he gives my life meaning and purpose and I live to see him grow and doing well and finding his happiness. The gift of being a parent is the opportunity of sharing all you know and teaching your child so they can have a life of meaning and purpose and for you to see them grow and become their own person. We are sad that our children grow so fast so we try to enjoy the time when they are babies then toddlers then growing children going off to school and learning for themselves. It is like time fools you as it seems when they are babies it is a very busy and chaotic time but before you know it they are growing children and the time when you were changing diapers and scheduling feedings is only a distant memory.

As I am on this journey of Life I am living in the present with my family and I am also remembering the past as it seems we need both to move forward. As our son grows we also remember the days when he was a baby and we go back and forth as it is nice to remember those times as well.

We all are sharing this wonderful journey together and we will all learn from each other along the way and I am so fortunate to be sharing my life with Maria, Matthew and Maria's mom, Teresita. I am also very happy I had such wonderful parents and have two wonderful sisters that care for me and my family very much and I feel the same way about them and their families and I will cherish this wonderful gift of life my parents gave me with God's help.

I am also very grateful for the wonderful gift I was given by being introduced to my wife and having the joy and blessing from Maria of our beautiful son, Matthew with God's help. It is such a wonderful gift to have a child in your life and Maria and I are so very grateful and will do our best for our son because he means everything to us.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The social impact of Autism

As the father of an autistic son I have learned through many experiences that it is difficult to attend social functions for long periods of time due to our son's apparent difficulties in controlling himself. He has had meltdowns, outbursts, bazaar behavior and just difficulty in relating to others. It can wear on you because you are trying to do right by your child by allowing them the opportunity of socialization and also trying to have a life as well by visiting with others. Sometimes their are no incidents and all is well but other times it can seem like a nightmare where you are constantly trying to calm your child or help them through and wind up just attending to them and are not able to enjoy the function. It happens quite regularly and we find that we tend to not attend functions as often because of the difficulties of controlling our son's emotional state. We do not want to limit his opportunities but we find people not to be so understanding or they just don't know how autism affects every aspect of life.

Our son has so many sensitivities and he can go into an outburst or meltdown at anytime and for any reason. Matty has very limited likes when it comes to eating and if he smells ketchup or an aroma of food cooking that he hates like hot dogs or hamburgers or spaghetti he just goes wild and starts to scream and holds his nose and it becomes quite a scene. We had to leave parties for outbursts like these by choice because we had trouble trying to settle him down. I don't know why autistic children are so sensitive with food and smell but our son has had this sensitivity since he was a young boy.

It does become very frustrating because even at home we have a hard time getting Matty on a balanced diet due to his food preference which is very limited for sure. He tends to eat the same thing on a regular basis and does not eat Maria's home cooking. He prefers pizza with very little tomato sauce or chicken nuggets where he only eats the edges. He likes eggs, milk, Stouffer's macaroni and cheese and for snacks he likes chocolate chip cookies and potato chips.

We wish he would eat healthier foods like grilled chicken with rice and vegetables but when Maria makes a plate for him he does not eat and we have taken an approach where we would then not give in so he wound up not eating but learned this was not going to work because Matty is on prescription medication for his epilepsy, autism and ADHD and if he does not eat he will get sick. We can not play around as it can lead to serious problems and he could get very sick. So we wind up having to give in and make him things he will eat.

It seems that autism affects a child's ability to socialize, it affects their eating choices, it affects their sleep patterns as our son never wants to sleep and it is very frustrating as he literally fights with us when it is time for him to go to bed. He has very limited social experiences outside of school as he has no interest in sports or after school social activities. He tends to enjoy being home and doing things that occupy him and does not require social interaction. We feel at times we are not making the best choices for our son but feel we are trying to do the best we can and we love our son so very much and that is why we sometimes feel so upset because we don't know how to help him with his outbursts and poor behavior. We have him visiting with a pediatric psychologist and pediatric psychiatrist to help him and we have him on all sorts of medication but we are still so very frustrated because we realize Matty has so many struggles and we are trying to help him. We will always be his support system and hope he can learn to develop and grow and have fulfilling experiences. I want my son to be happy and to achieve all he can as we know he is very capable and most of all we want Matty to be happy.

We will continue to attend functions so Matty can have the opportunity of seeing other children but we will always have to be guarded as our son requires special attention. I wish it was easier to help an autistic child and expose them to many experiences but as we see it isn't so we have to use appropriate judgement and to have lots of patience and love.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Teaching my son about writing.

As I started this journey of digging deep and writing about my experiences and staying true to myself and my family and relating deeply personal experiences to help in healing I started to enjoy the experience of writing and expressing myself as I feel it is essential in better understanding ourselves so we can be better with our family our friends and our work responsibilities. I feel it is important to live life with inner peace and find happiness because not every day is a happy one. We have to understand that we will experience good times and very sad times too and we have to learn how to cope and get through those times. Obviously we will always look forward to the good times but have to be realistic and understand that we also will experience times of despair and heartache and we have to learn to balance our feelings and emotions.

I have learned that when you are feeling sad about unforeseen circumstances and family tragedies you have no control over it is better to cry and talk about it and do whatever is necessary to help you through the difficult period. For me it became very important to express myself and write and Facebook became my venue for saying all I had to. As the days passed into weeks and months after my dad's death I felt empty and wanted to start a journal of all I was experiencing and I came upon a blog that inspired me about a young man writing his final farewell to his family over his remaining days knowing he was dying of cancer and wanted to express all he was experiencing and feeling and wanted to leave something for his family that professed his love for them. As I read this I could not stop reading it and I then realized this was what I needed to do so I could relate all my feelings and I realized what was most important to me which was my son and his challenges and obviously my family, my wife, and all we went through when we lost mom many years ago and the recent heartache of losing my dad.

I wasn't sure how I would start it but I worked on the title and it just came to me and then the topics I chose seemed to come to me as I thought about it and as I wrote my topic the words started to flow.

As I started writing my son would ask me if he could help and I said of course and I had him make some very important contributions and as he started to help me write I thought that it would be great for him to write as well as one of the things that affect autistic children is their difficulty in self expression. So we created a blog for him and I had him decide on an appropriate title and he came up with a simple title that was very appropriate called "Matty's blog" which he looks forward to writing and relating all that is important to him.

I personally think it is great that he enjoys writing and with my guidance and overview I feel he will benefit from the experience. He also enjoys music and expresses himself through singing but not on a stage like Gina Marie Incandella who is our inspiration. Matty's stage is his living room where he is free to write and express himself through writing or singing karaoke and I think that is truly wonderful and we see the positive effect it has on him.

I will always encourage Matty to write or sing as he wishes and when he wishes and I am proud of him and will always be proud of him and will always look forward to reading his writings or listening to him sing his favorite songs with eager anticipation.

My wife and I are so very proud of him and glad he finds things like this to keep him busy and help him in expressing himself which is so very important!

Keep up the good work Matty!

Love from Mom and Dad and Grandma and Matty!

Edward D. Iannielli III
Maria Jesusa Gonzales Iannielli
Matty Iannielli
Mama Terresita Napoles Gonzales

Friday, September 18, 2009

A view of life through the eyes of a child

Oh how life seems so complicated when you get older. Since I graduated high school it seems I had to make so many choices it would make your head spin. As I think back to my childhood it all seemed so much easier. I did not realize the hugh responsibilities our parents faced at the time but now as a parent I realize how much they loved and cared for us and how we were the center of their life. They had their stresses but they seemed to manage it well and nurture all 3 of us. My wife and I feel the same way about our son Matthew. I was a relatively happy child who benefited greatly from my parents love and support and the love and support of my sisters.

I was pretty naive as a kid and was usually well behaved and usually did my own thing. I learned quickly that I should always listen to my parents and my teachers and that I should do my homework as soon as I get home from school before I watch any of my favorite tv programs.

Now that I am a father I enjoy the opportunity of seeing how my son is learning and growing and I enjoy spending time with him. My wife and I are instilling in our son the same values we learned as children which are showing respect for others, conducting yourself in a proper way, learning discipline and responsibility. He is a treasure and has so much to offer and we encourage him to focus on his strengths and we are working on helping him improve on his weaknesses with the help of his teachers in a collaborative effort.

I am quite impressed with Matty and I am blessed to be a part of his life and to learn from him how he views the world and fortunate enough to share with him in his own words his views and interpretations. I realize how he is no longer a baby though I still think of him that way sometimes, as I am resisting him growing up too fast. I also realize he has so much wisdom and knowledge and is very intelligent and we as parents will always encourage him and love and support him every step of the way.

I have seen my son act in such compassionate ways as he reacts to calm a crying child or how he bonds with a younger child and makes them feel very comfortable. He has a very sweet quality in how he always wishes to offer his help and he has exhibited maturity in his actions and displays genuine care and concern. My wife and I are working to help him in building upon his self confidence and self esteem so he can learn to challenge himself. He has so much potential and with all of the resources we have available it is very important that we allow him to grow and mature so he can become more self reliant. We still have to help him with certain aspects of his behavior and allow him to express himself and talk to his psychologist to help him through those rough times.

As parents we teach our kids to listen and behave and always try their best and to never get discouraged as they are our future.

Matty has a naive and innocent way in how he sees the world and he has always enjoyed learning and exploring as he is a very curious child.
He can take the initiative to learn and research and follow through with things which are quite commendable qualities.

We love the holidays and come October when Halloween comes Matthew loves to help give out the candy to all the kids trick or treating in the neighborhood. Once he has given out a generous share of the candy he then enjoys a little time with dad or mom trick or treating and is always happy and it is fun to see him enjoying the Halloween experience.

He also still believes in Santa and it is so cute when he writes his list requesting what he would like Santa to bring.

Our son is very special and it is a pleasure to share life with him and my wife and to see things or try to as he does.

Edward D Iannielli III

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A visit at Matty's new school.

Maria and I went to visit with Matty's teachers tonight at his new school and it was very interesting to see what his school day is like. He attends middle school now and he is in a self contained class with his main teacher and 2 assistant teachers. He seems to be adjusting well to the new school and his schedule and we are happy that he is making progress and that he likes his teachers and the new school. He gets a locker which he was thrilled about. We spoke with his teacher for his self contained class and we are very happy with her. She seems very good with Matty and addressing his needs and the needs of his fellow classmates. The assistant teacher is very sweet too and she seems like she would be very good with the kids. He has the benefit of changing classes during the day for a few of his other classes such as art, family & consumer science and gym. Matty prepared his schedule for us to follow and we had the opportunity of walking the hallways in between classes as we went from one class to the next on his schedule and it was nice as it reminded me of my school days when I attended junior high.

Matty's schooling is different in some ways from mine in that he is in one class for most of the day and it is a very small class with 7 students and he gets a lot of individualized attention. I think that is essential for him as he would have difficulties in a large group and would not get the necessary attention he needs. I was quite impressed with the teachers, the school and the students. There were boys and girls who are students at the school positioned in the halls who were available for giving direction and assistance. They were all mature kids and all were very polite. I had the benefit of sitting in Matty's family and consumer science class as Maria was trying to find a parking space. I thought the class was very practical and the teacher was very good. She is teaching the class about responsibility with money, learning tips on saving, learning how to share in family responsibilities, learning about using coupons and learning how to sew a button on a shirt. All are essential things we all need to know about and I think it's a great class for him. Maria and I also had the pleasure of meeting Matty's art teacher and we thought she was tremendous. She has a lot of great projects for her class and I think Matty will have a lot of fun in her class and will learn a lot and she will bring out his talents and abilities as he does enjoy drawing and coloring. She showed us their first art project which was a drawing of a bowl of fruit and Matty drew it beautifully and painted it perfectly and you could sense he enjoyed the experience. His art teacher seems very dedicated and is a lovely lady who has all the kids interest at heart. We are happy he is in her class. I remember when I was in junior high school art was one of my favorite subjects and I remember learning about cubism and drawing a baseball bat, mitt and baseball and really put a lot of effort in it and receiving a compliment from my teacher on my artwork. I feel Matty will do well in her class and in all his classes.

I was also impressed with Matty's gym teacher and feel he needs to find some athletic activity that he will enjoy. He seems to like to run and maybe he may one day be suited for track and cross country like I was when I went to high school. His gym teacher also seems dedicated and I feel Matty will get some good exercise in his class and also have some fun as well.

We were very impressed with the school and enjoyed stepping into life as a student again and seeing what Matty's day is like. We are thrilled with the school and think it is better suited for Matty's needs and we look forward to seeing how he progresses and will be patient and expect the best from him.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Appreciating the little things in life.

If I teach my son anything in life it will be to appreciate the little things. I have learned that I have derived great joy and happiness from the little things in life. We are so busy in our everyday life that sometimes we lose sight of what is most important. I can say that when we look back at our life and we have completed our journey here and we are ready to embark on the next part of our journey that God takes us to we will appreciate the simple things as all the material things that we strive for are not as important as we will find. It's imperative to strive for success and it's nice to be able to buy the things we always wanted and we usually attribute success with what we are able to acquire and sometimes we realize although that is ok it really is not what life is really about.

Those quiet times I spent with my son and dad on a Sunday afternoon is really what I will treasure. The trips I made with my wife, son and mother-in-law on a holiday where we were all together as a family is what really makes me smile and feel happy.

I am learning that as I get older I have become a lot more introspective and I have learned through life's ups and downs that we are here for only a short while and though at times it may seem like an eternity it goes by so fast. I see it with my son. I remember when I was a young father holding my infant son as he was so tiny and so delicate and I had such feelings of pride, joy, anticipation, hope and of course realized I had a tremendous responsibility ahead of me. Knowing this I would always think back to the days when I was a young boy and how I looked up to my parents and respected and loved them for all they had done for my sisters and I and all they had meant to me. They were remarkable parents and so attentive to us. I learned to be a better and a very patient father because I learned from my parents. I will always have that image of my mom and dad when they were young and always being there for us. I miss those days of being a kid and having my mom read a bedtime story to me or my dad taking the whole family to see a movie. I will remember walking with my mom and sister to the local pizza place on Friday afternoons after school to have a slice. It's the simple things that is what makes life so grand.

I will always have that image of my wife cradling our newborn son in the hospital room with his little cap on as I felt so much joy. There is no feeling that can match that. That is the most happiest time in my life and will always be one of the most happiest times for me. As Matthew grows my joy and happiness grows and I feel very lucky and privileged.

The most painful things we learn as we grow is losing a loved one. It seems we are almost living in denial about this. I know I was not prepared emotionally when I lost my mom as it was a shock and it took a long time to come to terms with it. I am still sad when I think about the pain she suffered and how she battled so. She was such a beautiful woman and she was such a loving wife and mother. I like to remember her when she was young, beautiful and there when I needed a hug. She always gave me such wonderful hugs. I remember when I was visiting her in the hospital knowing she was very sick and was giving up her fight I would hold her hand and I would try to comfort her and tell her how much I love her and how I would be back to see her. It really hurt but I had to be strong and hold back my tears. I would learn that through tragedy I would try to ease the pain by holding on to the pleasant memories I had of our family growing up in the 1960s and think back to when I was a kid and my parents were young again and so full of life.

With loss comes sorrow and for me I try to reflect and think back and just appreciate all the wonderful things I experienced and that helps. When we lost dad it was totally unexpected and although we knew he was aging and not in the best of health we always felt he would always be there as we depended on him so much and he was always there for us and our children. He was wonderful and special. Losing him was very difficult and I am learning that you truly don't appreciate what you have until you lose it. It's not intentional but it seems we are preoccupied in our lives that we fail to realize all that he was to us. Dad was such a great man and he was very supportive and I know he would never want us to feel sad. He was going through some rough times as he was getting older and his body was starting to feel the effects of aging. He was very strong and courageous but he was lonely and although he had the love and support of his family he was losing his fight through his depression and loneliness. He was great with all of us and he loved to be surrounded by his grand children and would do anything for them but he was tired. No one can understand what goes through someones mind at such a point of desperation where they feel no other alternative. It is hard grappling with this but in respect of my dad I will quietly accept his decision and do realize the pain and loneliness he felt. He was very strong and courageous throughout his life but he lost his battle with depression and I am very sad but I hold on to all the great memories I have of my dad. He never asked for much but he would give everything he had to help someone.

As I grow older I also realize it is important to give back as there is so many in need. It is a simple act of kindness that makes life more meaningful. I feel that if everyone who was able to gave back in a positive way to help those in need it would create such a ripple effect that would truly make a difference and make an impact in a good way.

So as my son grows and learns I will instill in him with Maria that it is the little things we should cherish as they are what make us human and teach us what life is really all about.

Dedicated to my mom and dad and my family.

Edward D. Iannielli III