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G.'s Story
Encouragement Strikes

Hi! I just wanted to pass along what happened yesterday to those who really 
need some encouragement right now (like me).   We are in the middle of a 
disagreement with the school system (have an IEP scheduled for Friday) and 
along with running my son's home ABA program and dh is out of town most 
of this month, its getting  a little bit stressful around here. :-)      

My son (4 1/2, autistic, non-verbal) was watching a tape of Barney and I got a 
phone call. I thought it might be a potential tutor for my son (went to a career 
fair at the local university and got a great list of interested people last week).

 Anyway, this is a summary of my phone conversation: Girl on the phone said, 
"Is this [my name]?" I said yes.  She said, "Hi, this is J••••. [another mother in 
our FEAT Chapter] asked me to call you. I saw something on the news about 
your group and wanted to help out, but missed the phone number, so I called 
the station and they gave me her number."  "I'm autistic.  I didn't start talking 
until I was 5 years old". Well, you could have blown me over with a feather.   
I said  "Oh,  wow!"  [speechlessness is not my usual trait]  She and I talked for 
about 5-10 minutes and to summarize, she was diagnosed with autism in the 
late 1970's and it was recommended to her mother that they institutionalize 
her.  Her mother refused.

She is now attending the local State College and has a job and drives and 
really wants  to help out with our group.   She seemed  to be very insightful 
and  had a  great  sense  of humor.   She  said  that  other  than his being  
institutionalized,  she and the  character in  Rain  Man  were  very similar -- 
that  she  has  a  thing  for numbers and can remember phone numbers very 
well but still dislikes loud noises.               

 We talked about  all kinds of  things and  before we hung up,  I told her that 
I appreciated her talking to me, that she was a great inspiration.   This was 
the first time (that I am aware of) that I,  personally, have talked with an adult 
on the autism spectrum. I don't know what I would have expected if someone 
told me  she was going to call,  and I know that  each child is  different  and 
each one will "turn out" different, but I can't help but feel inspired and given 
a fresh ray of hope. Just when I needed one.






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