Growing Up on the Spectrum

As soon as he gets to class, he commences to taking off shoes and socks.  His vocabulary is limited to a few words such as fish (aka Gold Fish crackers).  He isn’t able to sit still in one spot for no more than let say … five minutes.  His favorite activity is hanging out with PBS Kids on the I-Pad.  Like most kids on the spectrum, he covets repetition.  He will play the same PBS cartoon over and over again.  Unfortunately for the ears of everyone else in the room, the cartoon includes a baby crying and he just loves to hear that.  He sat next to me and handed me the tablet as if he was giving me the baby to hold.  He’d let me hold it for a few seconds and take it back.  He’d pat his stomach and say “baby”.  He’s got the word “baby” down pat.

She is one of the 6th graders in her class. Her least favorite subject is math because her memory plays a cruel trick on her.  Her brain’s wiring is such that no sooner than a light bulb lights up, the bulb goes quickly out.  This cruel hoax leaves her back at square one.  It’s as if she was looking at the math problem for the first time.  She is encouraged to keep trying because just maybe there’ll be a time when the bulb doesn’t go out.

In most classes I have subbed for as an aide, the top of the morning is circle time.  You could call them a pow-wow.  Subjects on the table are usually what day of the month, what month, what year, etc.  The class whose circle time stands out in my mind was one that had a choir boy.  Sometimes he was a soloist because the rest of his troop weren’t inclined to sing as much as him.  He is limited when it comes to conversation, but not when the music is on.  He knows the words to the ABC’s and calendar songs.  He has a beautiful voice and a personality to match.  Over the last few years, I have subbed in his class several times.   In all those times, I never saw him make a frown.  He probably loves to sing happy songs because he is – happy.






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