He’s the new kid on the block in his school’s autism unit. I first met him weeks after he arrived when I subbed in his class. His teacher and the other aide bragged on him. He was quiet. No meltdowns — not yet anyway. He did his classwork without complaint. He was one of the few who would get through the class day without even a time-out.
On a day I was subbing in the gym, I saw him come in to join his grade’s general ed class. The activity of the day was shooting baskets. The children were separated into lines of three. One at a time, each one had a turn on the floor to shoot baskets. They were to shoot from one of the rubber round tiles spread out on the floor. Some of the tiles were easy being close to the basketball hoop; while others were more challenging being further away.
He knew how to sit in line and wait his turn. He knew to take the ball and aim for the hoop, but he didn’t know to pick one of the tiles to shoot from. Instead, he got up close to the hoop and tossed the ball. To his credit, on most of his tries, the ball did go through the hoop. He wasn’t in full compliance with the rules, but I didn’t deter him. Maybe I should have, but I didn’t want to take away his triumphs. It’s hard for me to not be partial to the kids who live on the same spectrum as I do. Sometimes in watching them, I see a glimpse of the child I used to be.