The new pre-school was working out well, minus the finances.
Liam’s teacher prided herself on being comfortable with teaching children with autism. She had taught one or two other children on the autism spectrum and was able to offer us a few ideas to try at home, that were working in school.
She really saw his “light.”
When we would come in to pick him up, she would make a comment about something that went well or that he had accomplished that day – to show growth. It was a very encouraging time for us.
Liam also had made a friend. She was a year younger than him and, it turns out, had an older brother on the autism spectrum too – also high functioning. She would do a lot of the talking and he would have someone by his side to play next to.
She was a great role model for Liam, for how to use language. I don’t believe they were assigned (aka forced) to play together. She just enjoyed his company and didn’t mind if he didn’t talk that much, or talked about letters or numbers. (Liam would go on to have many more girls who were his friends – who were inherently tolerant of his habits and were precocious in their own language skills. They didn’t need him to do too much of the talking for the relationship to go well)
I remember one day in specific. I came to pick Liam up and there he was, surrounded by all of the kids in the class, reading a book to them.
They were listening to him read and he was doing a great job. Moreover, he looked happy. I asked what was going on. The teacher shared, “It’s story time – Liam is reading the story to the class.”
His teacher had found a way to take one of his strengths and highlight it with his classmates. This strategy has proven extremely effective throughout his schooling. While he struggles in many areas, he has been afforded distinct experiences that have allowed him to show what he can do well, and even model for others. He can give to, as well as receive from his peers. No longer was he the kid who needed everyone else’s help.