Who’s different now?
Watching an autistic grandson grow up, there was no question that in his preteen years, especially until the age of around ten, he was definitely different. He was different in that he did not look you in the eye or look at you at all when you talked to him, although he definitely was listening and understood what you were saying. His reactions to you were simply different.
Another thing that made him different was his amazing ability to not only keep himself amused, but his uncanny ability to take a Lego model out the box, dump its contents on the table, look at the picture and the hundreds of pieces on the table, and start piecing the model together in what seemed like no time at all. Definitely the kind of thing you watch and ask yourself, how in the world did he do that? He was just a bit different.
Fortunately, he had speech therapy starting around age two and progressed amazingly well in his ability to communicate. It was just a little bit different.
As he grew into his teens he found an affinity for computers and learned how to use them with a skill not normally found in young teenagers. Definitely different.
He also found he had a talent for singing and sang in the church and school choirs, often asked to do solos. He could get up in front of small gatherings and talk about his journey through autism. Definitely different.
He also learned to look you in the eye when you talked to him. He became a good listener and responded with intelligent and well thought out responses. Suddenly, he didn’t seem so different.
Now that he’s in his late teens, completed high school with amazingly good grades and on his way to college, he doesn’t seem so different now. Just a bright, friendly, talented young man like so many others out there. Not so different at all.