I have been thinking about some comments my little girl made about riding the school bus the other day about what the other children were saying about the non-verbal little boy who sits near the rear of the bus. It brought memories back of how hard it was for Johnny to begin Junior Kindergarten and not be able to talk when he knew everything he wanted to say but just couldn’t say a thing. Teachers and children would talk about him in front of him as if he couldn’t understand anything because he could not speak. This still resonates with Johnny to this day because right now at school there are children who have known him for the past 3 years and are only now hearing him speak and are pleasantly surprised. There are others who still talk in front of him believing he cannot talk. What is their reward when they try to talk to him? Johnny does not answer them and instead answers the child that speaks to him like a friend. In some ways having a disability like Autism is its own social filter. Johnny is figuring out on is own who to trust, who is kind, who is understanding and most of all who wants to be his real friends.
“He’s a BAD boy” the little girl in Johnny’s class says very loudly while we are all sitting around the lunch tables at the Pumpkin Patch farm. Silence. Who is she talking about? I look over at Johnny who is happily sitting at the lunch table surrounded by his classmates. Of course she is talking about Johnny who is very excited making lots of sounds and doing lots of babble. Silence.
I turn to the little girl and take a deep breathe and try to add a smile to my face and say ” He is not a BAD boy.” Ah but the little girl is undeterred and says Johnny interrupts class by making sounds and not doing what he’s suppose to so he’s a BAD boy. The ECE teacher is at that table and tells the little girl that what she is saying is not very nice and that…
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