Da Black Whole

Friday, December 16, 2005

Peanut's Big Day

In her post "Clouds Clear My Coffee," Egg Salad Annie informs us of Santa's Early Arrival disguised as seven-year-old son Ben's recent takeover of . . . er I mean visit to . . . the clinic, for sensori-motor and speech therapy.

Ben is mostly non-verbal, in the sense of speech/phonemes, but uses a tonal, preverbal lingo that is very expressive, if not syntactically elegant. Access to an experienced and open speech therapist is very important for Ben now, because his tonal expressions are becoming more varied, and he's used sign-language indicating his desire to speak. He's already capable of speech under certain circumstances. In those cases, great effort is required, often under strong emotional motivation.

I can't think of a better Christmas present than weekly visits to a speech and occupational therapist. The gift of hope.

little dynamo is very happy with Santa this year!

Ben deserves it, and so do many others like him. He gets very little understanding and acceptance outside his homelife -- despite the fact that he's an engaging, beautiful, brilliant boy. Even if he weren't autistic, however, he'd be a puzzling, and perhaps disturbing, child to some people. He didn't fit in at a mainstream school (couldn't possibly have, and no doubt it was torture for him.) In many public contexts, Ben is considered a nuisance, curiosity, or object of pity -- all of which he senses and processes, by the way.

He needs exposure to "general public" environments that are positive and accepting, where people are glad to see him each week, looking forward to his company. His new occupational/speech therapy sessions look like great transitional bridges to other environments in which Ben's gifts can be acknowledged and shared.

As amazing as Annie's vignette about Ben and the girl with cerebral-palsy was, I wasn't surprised to hear it. I've seen him do likewise elsewhere. He ain't fakin'. Accompanying and observing Ben in public is often unique, instructive, humorous, touching, and astounding simultaneously.

Hooray for Ben-O! I was glad to hear about your Big Day, Peanut. Be joyful in many more.


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