Starting on a Good Note
O.K., let's get the basics out of the way . . .
Who am I? Well, I am a scientist and an educator and a mother of four, one who happens to be autistic. As a scientist, I observe phenomena, form hypotheses, test, and use what I have learned to either continue in the same direction or throw out the hypothesis and start again. As an educator, I teach others what I know and facilitate their learning of complex issues. As the mother of an autistic son,my most important job in this life is to make his better.
So, let's start the conversation on a high note. Although I have watched all my children graduate - from high schools and colleges, (and of course I was the proud mama for each), I was especially thrilled to witness Matt walk across that graduation stage. He shook hands with the principal and received his diploma. He looked pretty sharp in his black robes and gold honor cords and he knew it. His smile, the proud way he carried himself, the regal poses for pictures, all told of a young man triumphant. Those gold honor cords Matt wore around his neck distinguishing him as a honor student. Matt graduated number 4 in his class. Yep, let me say that again (because it feels really good), Matt graduated number 4 in his class!
Matt has dreams of being a comic book artist and living on his own. He is now 24 years old, takes college –level courses (one course at a time) and is learning self sufficiency. It’s a slow process– but we really have no deadline.
It has been a long, hard road to this point. It didn't happen over night, and yet, now it feels like it was only amoment ago. I certainly didn't do it alone (I’m not a superhero), and Matt didn't do it alone (we have so many to thank over the years). I observed so much over the years that went against the dogma of the time that I soon found myself saying“I should write a book”.
Writing is not a simple process and the subject matter can be painful at times,but parents, teachers, and anyone who interacts with an autistic person should know certain things. So, here we are. The stories are true and inspirational. Teaching an autistic child can be done, it is not all doom and gloom, and the simplest of steps will lead to big things. I have witnessed real progress in all areas of social ability and communication in my son that most thought were impossible - and we did it without expensive therapies or medications.
Matt was diagnosed in 1988. He was only 2 ½ years old. At that time, autism was thought to be a rare disorder, only a 1:10,000 chance. There were only a few archaic studies published, no books on the subject for parents, and no Internet. In dealing with each autistic behavior we had to learn simply by trial and error. This is not a “How to” book, just stories highlighting moments of enlightenment – moments that could be missed if one is not watching and learning. My purpose for writing these stories is a simple one - I merely hope they will help you connect better with the autistic person in your own life. I hope that as you read you will come to see the world as an autistic child sees the world.
Come with me as I reveal Matt’s journey, his bravery, his story – see the World According to Matt.
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