One of the people that I can honestly say has changed our lives here is Ido Kedar, a non-speaking autistic who wrote the book Ido in Autismland. I have given copies of his book to friends, family members, therapists, and teachers. His candid accounts of his life are so raw and vivid and have given me so much insight into Ryan’s behavior, especially before Ryan was able to communicate with us.
I bring this up because Ido also maintains a blog, and I read all of his posts and I read them to Ryan. His latest post, was rather poignant.
Ido states, “…if you converse in a noisy room you automatically tune out the background din, but a person whose auditory processing is global is blasted equally by all sounds.” He goes on to say, “Sometimes people who are overloaded due to global processing may try to cope by obsessively listening to micro-selective, familiar tunes.”
I finished reading the post to Ryan and he spelled: SO MOM I FEEL I AM SO HEARING GLOBAL. REALLY CAN HEAR THINGS MOST PEOPLE CANT. REALLY CALLING IT POOR ABILITY TO FILTER NOISE.
“So Ryan, when you are overwhelmed, how do you cope?”
NOT SURE. DEARLY DETERMINED BY THE SITUATION.
“Is this why you like to have your iPad with you most of the time?”
MY IPAD IS MY CONSTANT IN MY LIFE. SO MOM I FIND I CAN FOCUS BETTER IF I LIKE HAVE IT AT ALL TIMES.
We continued on and did an Art History lesson on the painter John Constable. As we were learning, Constable was known for his landscape pictures and he often painted pictures of different skies and in order to remember them, he would put the name of the place where he painted it and the date on the back of the canvas. I explained this to Ryan and I asked him his thoughts.
I KIND OF DO THAT TOO.
“What do you mean?”
I FIND MYSELF LEARNING HOW TO TELL TIME, CALLING IT MOVIES IN MY HEAD. I AM INTO PLAYING MOVIES IN MY HEAD OF REAL LIFE EVENTS.
“That is interesting, Ryan. Do you have a favorite?”
THE REALLY HARD TOO MUCH FUN WEDDING.
“What do you mean by hard? Do you mean that it was hard for you to handle the sound and people?”
“But you obviously still had fun?”
Today, we went to The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth this morning. Ryan woke up super early today and I came in and asked him if he was ready to go this morning.
LEARY OF GOING BECAUSE I AM TOO HYPER.
I explained that on Wednesdays it was half price for adults and children under 12 are always free, so even if we just stayed for 5 minutes, that was fine with me. I told him that we needed to at least try and go.
We got there right at 10 am when it opened. We met a woman at the information counter and got our tickets. The woman asked Ryan if he wanted a drawing book and pencil. Ryan spelled: YES. THAT WOULD BE COOL.
I asked Ryan if he had any questions for her before we started. He replied: DEARLY HAPPY TO BE HERE.
We spoke to her a bit longer and before we began checking out the museum Ryan spelled: GEARING UP FOR IT.
So as a parent of an autistic child who struggles with body control, this needs to be said: Ryan’s behavior was absolutely amazing. He barely “stimmed” at all, he did not spit nor did he run off. He also did not touch anything. I am still on a high about this. It was such a pleasant experience.
We walked through the place in about 45 minutes, which was about how long I thought that we might stay for. When we turned in our clipboard (which held the drawing book and pencil) to the information desk, the young woman asked Ryan what he thought of it.
SO I THOUGHT IT WAS COOL.
We sat down on a bench before we left and he spelled I REALLY LIKED IT A LOT. ALWAYS LOVE LEARNING ABOUT ART.
Once we got home, Ryan had a Skype session with his friend Fox. Ryan told Fox about the museum and then spelled: I NEED TO GO TO MORE MUSEUMS.
Fox asked Ryan how he was able to not touch anything.
CALLING IT MAGIC.