Hi! I just wanted to pass along what happened yesterday to those
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
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
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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