Friday, March 20, 2009

What a beautiful time 1st grade was

A lot of things happened in first grade. David was blossoming. He was learning how to talk. He was participating in class. He was learning how to read. I read to him all the time. We could let him out the door and watch him walk down to the cross walk where the crossing guard would escort him and other children across the street. He was able to spell just from seeing the word. And best of all to an engineer like me, he was at the top of his class in math. He could add with carry, subtract with borrow. He knew the difference between negative and positive numbers. He just about had his multiplication and division tables down. He had gotten through the issue of not sleeping through the night. For the father of an autistic child, I was in heaven.

David's teacher was getting a master's degree. One of the classes that she took was a class on teaching children with disabilities like cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, mental retardation and autism. She asked me to come talk to the class to talk about what it was like to raise an autistic child. I agreed. I had a lot to talk about. I felt that I would not wish autism on anyone, but if you had to have an autistic child, David was the one you would want.

I came to her night class with a set of 3x5 cards. Each of them had a subject on it that I could discuss in the class. I was scheduled for 45 minutes of the hour and 15 minute class. I took an hour and 10 minutes. I could have gone for another hour. The class was pleased. David's was a story of a very positive progression in spite of being autistic. It was uplifting for everyone including me. We all cheered for David at the end of the class. I had no idea what David and as a result, the rest of us were in for.