3 months ago



Teddy 113 broke across

Teddy 113 broke across Melody’s face as she told me about her race with him through the kitchen to the living room and how Teddy looked at her one day in surprise and laughed at her silliness. I know times of disappointment are inevitable for parents, that at the end of the day, the outcome for their child may not be as good as they had hoped for. But at least it is usually better than what they feared. It is important to be optimistic without being foolish. What is most essential is to persevere and to be determined to make sure that your child is included in any environment that is suitable, even if that environment has to be changed to accommodate the child. Quiet perseverance and determination are the advocacy skills that any parent needs, not to advocate for a cure—that is perhaps too much—but to advocate for understanding and acceptance. In that way, change and improvement occur over time. It may not come right away, but it will come. The triumphs of a child with ASD during development are just as real and as impressive as the triumphs of any typical child. They are different but no less magnificent for all that. To see those triumphs is no easy matter. They are not obvious to the naked eye, particularly if one takes the perspective of typical development as a yardstick. But if one sees the world as the children with ASD do, if one takes the time to appreciate their perspective, then the triumphs and the successes become apparent and meaningful. It’s not where a child ends up that counts; it’s where he or she has come from that is the true measure of a child’s courage and fortitude. Justin, Jeremy, Tom, and all the other adults with autism and ASD have the right to stand tall among their more typical peers. And Melody and Sean are coming to see that as well as Teddy grows up and gets better—and what more telling sign of that than when he laughs at his mother for being silly?

A Sally, Mind Ann, Apart and Danny Chapter 8 Sally, Ann, and Danny Accepting the Enigma, Moving Beyond the Cause I come down the stairs late, and slightly breathless, for my afternoon appointment. I am confronted by what looks like a day care class outside the office; three very young children, two girls and a boy, are running up and down the hall, shouting gleefully. They are watched rather anxiously by their parents, who in turn are watched rather anxiously by two grandparents. I quickly usher the entire family into my office. It’s so crowded that there is little room for the children to run around. The noise level is deafening, but I try to gather some information, turning back and forth from the adults to the children, who are very beautiful, with wispy blond hair and penetrating blue eyes. The parents tell me the children are triplets. The girls, Sally and Ann, are identical twins, and the boy, Danny, is a fraternal twin. The mother, Joan, used to be a shop assistant; she is dressed in white jeans and a sweater and wears glasses. She looks completely and utterly exhausted. The father, Dave, is a machinist who works the midnight shift. He has just woken up to drive everybody to the appointment. Both parents are very worried about the children’s development and wonder whether they might have autism. They have no other children at home. They look at me anxiously as if I might give them an immediate and perhaps reassuring answer. Instead I gather some information to understand what might have happened and whether it is true that lightning has struck three times in the same family at the same instant. 114

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