Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Autism Awareness Month

John's fam
Originally uploaded by brungrrl.
John's nephew Caden has been diagnosed as autistic and started going to a special school where they are working very closely with him. Since it's autism awareness month, I thought I would dedicate a blog to him.

It's uncanny how many folks our age have kids with autistic spectrum disorders. A friend I grew up with has a little boy who may be autistic. It certainly makes you wonder what-if for your own unhatched children when it happens to family and friends.

We asked Caden's mom, Sherrie, a crapload of questions over the weekend. It's hard to get used to living in Caden's world. He doesn't comprehend HOT. So we have to be extra careful with the stove. And he loves, LOVES lining things up. But his teachers are trying to break him of that obsessive behavior, so you have to shout "Mess it up!" to get him to stop. (Which means he tosses everything... so careful when you yell this!)

While learning may be a challenge, he's certainly very bright. He must have a photographic memory. He can memorize a puzzle at first sight. And he memorized his magnetic alphabet board on his own and can put the letters back on lickety-split.

In this photo, he had collected all the numbers and was arranging them on the stairs IN ORDER. It is fascinating to watch. He hasn't been taught numbers and letters yet. He just sees them in order and memorizes where they go. If only I could remember stuff like that!

Caden is a sweet kid. He tolerates his aunts and uncles smothering him with hugs and kisses and I've never seen him throw a tantrum. He has come so far in 4 short years. It HAS to be exhausting to try so hard every day to learn even a little bit.

It's hard to imagine the thoughts that are going through his mind and the frustration it must cause him when he can't communicate with others. It is going to be very exciting to watch him develop over the next few years. Love you, little guy!!!

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