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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Spell

"I'm sending you a book," my friend from Finland texted to me a few years ago. She is our older son's Godmother. "Honestly, you simply have to read it."

Sigh. Oh boy. A book? Really?

This woman is my heart. But, geez, how the heck am I expected to read something while running after these kids with my pants on fire?

The book arrived in no time. Drat. Shouldn't international mail still use boats or something?

I opened the envelope, and my heart actually sank. Ugh. It was about autism. Every day, I live autism. Every day, my kids live autism. In our best moments, we have triumphed over autism. In our proud moments, we are celebrating autism. In our worst moments, we are living through autism. Autism keeps us from sleeping. Day and night I look to the Internet to help me with something about autism.

How can I find any more energy in me to devote to autism? Why would I want to? Putting trust in my friend, I explored the cover, and it beckoned to me. Opening the first few pages, I was hooked.

I saw our older son in this book.

So far, in my journey as this child's mother, I'm sad to say that he has always been the extreme, the inigma, the most complex. He's always been the trickiest, the one that was the hardest to handle. My husband and I had no idea what we were facing. Was this good or bad? Did this mean we had more raw material to work with or less? Was our son in there? We'd never really seen any signs.

I read the book voraciously.

Two mothers, two countries, joined together by their sons and autism. One mother, self taught and living overseas, found a way to communicate with her child. The other was creative in finding outside resources for her son. One of those resources was this mom in another country.

It was a journey of friendship, of bonding together for a cause, of autism and of education. It was a story of hope. In this day where not much is known about autism, there are so many theories floating around about causes and treatments. So many methods of education. So many MONEY SUCKERS. It's very easy to lose hope. I was weary from the daily battles and the large attempts to find our magic bullet.

I was weary but not beaten.

And, so, when I read in this book about how a mom started communicating with her child by writing the alphabet down on a sheet of paper and teaching him to spell words...I was intrigued.

When I learned that the sheet of paper then progressed to a computer keyboard, I was hopeful.

When I read the poetry that this nonverbal child was able to express through the use of his computer, I was overcome with emotion.

Quickly, I pulled out a piece of plain, white paper and scribbled a rough rendering of the alphabet, and I took it to our son.

"Spell your name," I said to him.

He pointed, and..he..spelled...his...name! Then, for good measure, he spelled it backwards.

"Spell 'rice'," I said.

And he did.

"Spell 'mall'," I said.

And he did.

I set down the sheet of paper and looked into the eyes of our child, knowing we had yet to scratch the surface of who he really is.



For more information about the book mentioned in the post, click HERE

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This entry was written in response to the letter prompt "S" in the Blogging A to Z April 2012.

18 comments:

  1. What a fabulously HOPEFUL post. Here's a toast to the words he has yet to share with you and the things he has to say.

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    1. Amy, it was one of the first hopeful signs for me as his mother. True hope in a world I didn't fully understand. Thanks for your continued support.

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  2. what fascinating information---wonderful progress

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    1. Lynn, I agree. Very fascinating! I'm thankful for the talented educators and innovators working with children like mine. It is not my strength.

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  3. Hanna Jensen FinlandApril 21, 2012 at 2:31 PM

    Oh Amy! I still have the book here. What a great post!!!

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    1. Hey, Hanna: at the time that you sent the book and I dove into the program, he didn't have the attention span to show us what he could do with this program. However, he has had a lot of maturity this year, and his teacher at school is being trained. She plans to formally start it with him soon! Thank you! I love you!

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  4. Have you ever read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon? I know, I know, you don't have time to read, but this one is worth it!


    Catch My Words
    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

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    1. My mother was trying to get me to read that. I've heard it is very good. Thank you for reminding me. I'm really terrible about not wanting to read any more about autism in what leisure time I might have. I know that this limits me.

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  5. very moving post. takes my breath away. I am impressed by you and your vision with your son. you are a great mother.

    best,
    MOV

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    1. Thank you so much! This was his Godmother's vision. I must give her credit. Love just pulled me along.

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  6. Again, his brilliance shines! He is in there and he wants to tell you so much. He will and I know he is. Communication where none existed! WOW, just wow, huh?

    ♥ and faf

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    1. Jo, I tried to implement the program at home with him, but his attention just wasn't where it needed to be. He's had so much growth recently, however, that he is ready. I'm hopeful that this will be the start of something for him...even if it is a slow start.

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  7. Oh, Amy, this is wonderful! You've found a way to communicate and to have hope for your son and his future. And I'll just bet he'll be able to use a keyboard pretty soon, with his intelligence and determination. I'm so glad to read this post.

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    1. It will take time, but this was the first real sign to me that it is possible. :)

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  8. Every breakthrough just brings tears. This made my day.

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    1. :). I was afraid to breathe when he did it. lol.

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  9. You gave me chills with this one Amy. This is a splendid discovery. I hope it fills you as full of hope as the book did to begin with!

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    1. I initially tried the program with him and was deflated. He just wasn't ready, and I felt ill-prepared. I'm a mom, and home is not school in his eyes. It was a struggle for a long while. He'll be trying it at school, perhaps next fall. Looking forward to seeing the results.

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