Growing Up on the Spectrum

She’s small for her age, but she has a strong will.  She tests the patience of teacher and aides, but if one asks any of them about her, they will smile and probably say, “oh, she’s so cute.”  When it is “choice time” in P.E., her choice is basketball.  Although the basketball is almost as big as she is and she can barely lift it up in the air, she is fiercely attached to it.  She doesn’t need height to dribble the ball anyway.  That she can do and if she was allowed, she could do it far longer than most kids her age.

The two boys are in the same grade, attend the same class, and are both on the autism spectrum.   Their relationship is much like two brothers with one being the leader and the other the follower.  I watched them as they came in together for gym class with the leader leading the way.  Sometimes the leader is like an older brother who sometimes likes having his kid brother around; and other times, not so much.  I noticed he would sometimes attempt to veer away from his shadow, but his shadow would always find him.

A cubicle wall to him is an invitation to climb it.  He is quick to catch the teacher or aide with their backs turned and seize the opportunity to escape and climb up high enough to touch the ceiling.  It takes a good bit of coaxing and/or threatening to get him to jump down.  All bets are off that he won’t try again to climb to the top at the first opportunity.

She doesn’t like to write.  I could not relate to her disdain for writing, but I could relate to her shyness.  I was a total stranger when I came into her classroom with the task of trying to keep her on task.  She did write a few lines and the teacher was satisfied since the teacher knew it was all she was going to get.  She was a puzzling mystery to me.  Absolutely quiet.  No emotion.  No frown, no smile.  Just a long, blank stare that ran right through me. I wondered what she was thinking, but she gave me no hints.







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