First times and old ‘acquaintances’ (2020)

March 8 is World PTLS Awareness Day! A perfect moment to look back and forward again to Jelles year!

New adventures
Soccer is one of Jelles passions. Thanks to playing soccer at Forza Friends (the special needs branch of soccerclub DVSU) and playing FIFA on the PlayStation, he got to be a fan of the Dutch premier league clubs Ajax and FC Utrecht. Some FC Utrecht players visited DVSU last September. He greeted them as if he had known them for years, so wonderful to see! A match was played together, and shirts and autographs were handed out, great! Last month I took him to his very first FC Utrecht match. And he thought it was so cool! All those impressions in that big stadium! But swearing is not allowed, he made that very clear to the neighbor behind us, the hero.

His other big passion is Formula 1 and then mainly (and only): the Dutch driver Max Verstappen. He dreams about it and sometimes can’t talk about anything else. After visiting the last 4 Zandvoort Race Days (where Max shows off his skills in front of thousands of fans), he is going to a real Formula 1 race for the first time this year! He is so excited! Because of it the latest check-up of his heart in the hospital wasn’t even the usual drama: he had just heard that we are going and told everyone about it, a nice distraction during the examinations! Of course he should race himself for the first time as well, so we will take him karting this year also.

Familiar territory
In addition to so many new adventures, there are also old “acquaintances” this year. Although Jelle loved traveling in North America last year in a motorhome, he prefers to go on holiday to the Dutch island Terschelling! Fortunately, we all really enjoy the island. Every year we go for at least a long weekend, but next summer we will go 3 lovely weeks. He just loves spending time in the harbor looking at the ships go by. Every year there’s a walking marathon in all Dutch towns, walking 5 km 4 nights in a row. Since last year he has been walking with his own group of friends. They bring music, drinks and candy, he loves doing it.

Developments towards maturity
Being home alone first was difficult, now Jelle enjoys it! I have enjoyed a blissful sabbatical since April. And although he likes it that I am always there, he sometimes begs me to please go out and leave him alone for a while. When I was traveling for 2 weeks last November, it wasn’t a big issue for him either. After I got back, he wanted everything to be “normal” again though. His brother suffered more from my absence. Jelle mainly wants to sleep at home (besides our holidays together). We will work on that this year. We want him to live in a small residential grouphome in a few years, so he has to get used to sleeping elsewhere without us. That is why I am currently exploring special needs guest houses and group homes. Once a week he goes to a care farm. There he can play outside all afternoon with nice kids. Let’s see if he can stay over a few weekends this year, preferably with this group. He thinks staying over and talking about living elsewhere is complete nonsense, but we will get started with it!

Cool ‘dude’
At school he is exploring practical subjects. Until now he likes cooking and working outside. We are very curious where his interest will lie if he does an internship in a few years. Our 15-year-old teenager is doing well! He has been a member of the student council since last fall and, among other things, he has made a case to the school management for ice-skating in the winter. He stands his ground! During the first Dutch PTLS congress on April 18 2020 he will probably also entertain and help the (PTLS) kids. That is entirely entrusted to this assertive, fun, sweet, cool guy!