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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Writer/Curator/Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project. Contributing Author to Between Interruptions: Thirty Women Tell the Truth About Motherhood, and Concepts of Normality by Wendy Lawson, and soon to be published Gravity Pulls You In. Writing my own book. Lecturer on autism and the media and parenting. Current graduate student Critical Disability Studies and most importantly, mother of Adam -- a new and emerging writer.

“There is no hope unmingled with fear, and no fear unmingled with hope.” -- Baruch Spinoza

Monday, January 02, 2006

Adam's Hyperlexia

Well, what I've been writing about the past few days is working like a charm: Adam's reading skills are so strong that I can write something down that is verbally more challenging, and Adam can follow the command. I've begun putting labels (textual only) all around the house. I've tried PECs but he just doesn't get as turned on by those -- it's not that I won't use them, but if I can accelerate Adam's language this way, I'm going to do it! I've been reading When Babies Read by Audra Jensen over the holidays and it inspired me. Although knows hundreds of site words and I have to move him a little further into the program, it is also showing me to move back a little so I am sure Adam can pair the object with the word. I know he knows, but sitting at the table, I wonder if he will respond appropriately. I also began carrying the small magna-doodle all around with us today -- I used it to explain the following:

My Questions: "Where are we going?"

Text Prompt and Adam's response: "Store"

Me: "What do we buy at the store?"

Text Prompt and Adam's response: "Food"

I made sure to do it again in the store. So I do this a few times before we go somewhere and again when we are there.

Soon, I will write the question down, then the answer. The perhaps Adam will be able to fill in blanks, categorize and more. His site reading is very strong and he does sound out some words phoenetically on his own (no one has ever taught him to read).I am going to make him books too. The first one I make is about his family and the second one will be about school.It all has to be about Adam's life...FUNCTIONAL stuff.

We came home from Blue Balloon's facilitated playgroup (a group being conducted until school starts next week). Another autistic boy was there today and does a lot of high-pitched whooping. Adam does this occasionally too, but this child does it a little more often at the moment and has his own way of doing it. But, when Adam came home, he started whooping just like his friend. This tells me he is watching and listening to his friend! I don't know what causes our children to whoop. Has anyone ever come across research that discusses it?? I wonder if it has anything to do with a sensory need. Is it something like the babble?? Sometimes I know it is the sounds from Adam's Baby Einstein videos -- child-like sound effects. Some other times he does it when he's anxious.

Oh yeah... the babble that sounds like a real sentence, but has no meaning. I'll try and write an sounds like poems some times (and have been repeated often), full diatribes at others. He was standing at my parents window today looking out at something and spoke a couple of beautiful sentences like he was speaking another language. We always stop and try to discern if there is any sense to them -- something, anything we can understand. Or this little diddy he likes to sing:

"Happy days
a way oh a
wha say you" -- with a distinct and consistent melody. He particularly enjoys singing it while jumping up and down when his older brother Max jungles balls.If Max drops the ball, Adam will stop dead in his tracks, like he's rewinding the song. When Max begins juggling, Adam resumes the song like pressing the PLAY button.

Speaking of songs -- ever notice how many of our kids never sing along -- but maybe after, or quite a while later? I look forward when Adam sings a song along with me...I know it will happen some day soon.

Adam began using his fork independently -- that took about a year. I don't say it to denigrate the achievement, in fact, I believe it is a significant one and Adam makes so many of them!!

So, I look forward to the year ahead as we get Adam ready for school. I saw the movie Munich over the holidays (my husband said that he loves to watch the previews to see how many movies we don't get to see), and came out wondering what the world is coming to. The movie poses the problem that Isreal and the rest of us face -- the utter hatred towards us. The answer to the question is that there is no answer. Facing all of this, we must work for peace, for hope in all things. This is life. It does not run smoothly.


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