JEFFERSON, Ga. -- It's been almost a year since Tripp Halstead was hit and nearly killed by a falling tree branch during Hurricane Sandy.

Since then, it's been a tough road for the toddler, who is now three years old. But Thursday, his family celebrated a major milestone: Tripp began his first day of preschool.

Stacey Halstead said at times, it felt like this day would never come.

"With the throwing up and the medicines and him being on such a particular food schedule, I didn't think I'd be able to leave him at all," she said. "I figured 24-7, I'd always be with him."

Thursday afternoon, Stacey Halstead sat down with 11Alive's Blayne Alexander to talk about her son's first day of school.

She said in the past few months, Tripp has made a marked improvement. He is learning to communicate with his eyes; a long blink means "yes." He's also holding his head up and making noises, neither of which were possible a few months ago, she says.

"They do push him a little harder [in therapy], and if he gets upset, we just talk him through it and keep going," she said.

Tripp attends a school for special needs children once a week. His mother said if he continues to do well, they might increase his attendance.


* Tripp Halstead gets visit from Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore
* A Day in the life of Tripp Halstead
* Follow the story of Tripp's accident and his road to recovery
* Halsteads introduced to new home

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