Saturday, December 5, 2009


I'd be remiss if I didn't write a few lines on my big guy and the strides he's made.

Seven years ago, his future was a tabla rasa, or as good as. He had no speech and a diagnosis of autism.

Five years ago, he had little or no conversational speech.

Two years ago, he still tantrummed when words failed him. And they frequently did.

As recently as September, he was still unable to tell me when things were going awry in school or on the bus. Then we made the transition to the big bus.

And boy. Has he been schooled.

Kids with autism miss social cues. Nonverbal cues. They are literal. If some one tells them that he or she is their friend, they take them at their word, because it doesn't occur to them to say things for the sake of saying them. Speech makes it true to the child with autism, even if it isn't.

Nic has figured this piece out, and it wasn't clear to me that he had until I was giving a talk on Creating a Vision for Your Child. I described what happened with the laser pointer the other day, and while I was giving the talk, my phone went off.

The voicemail left me told me that Nic did exactly what he needed to do. He told the principal what happened, and the kids involved were talked to, and parents were called.

No big deal on one hand. But these kids weren't banking on Nic sticking up for himself. I'm sure it came as a rude shock.

One mom said to me, "The big bus scares me, how can you let your child on it?"

I told her it scared me, too. "But he's learned more about social skills in three months than he has in social skills classes in the preceding four years. Living in the real world? THIS is where it all starts."

To any typical kid, this is easy. But to a kid with autism, they have to LEARN all the stuff typical kids just KNOW as a matter of course.

And by God, Nic's learning....

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