By Kodey Toney
My Name Is
Konner has a program on his iPad where he can make stories, add photos, and come up with his own creative mini book. I get them occasionally because he can send them in an email for everyone to read. When he first put this app on his iPad he was taking pictures left and right and sending out stories like crazy. It’s a great outlet for his imagination.
Though I don’t receive nearly as many stories as I used to, a random narrative will show up in my inbox and be a good littletreat for me. However, as I was dropping Kruz off at my mother-in-law’s the other morning she asked me if I had seen the one he had sent recently. I told her I wasn’t sure because I get them every once in a while and tend to forget about them some (not that I don’t love them or appreciate them). When she showed me the new story it had several pictures of cats, dogs, and other animals, and in the middle was a picture of him. I’m not sure what the other pictures said, but what his said hit me in one of those ah-ha moments.
He had written, “My name is Konner, and I can do anything I want to do!”
This goes back to a couple weeks ago when I wrote about giving a child a chance before you count them out. If a child thinks he can do anything then who are we to tell them any different?Why should we burst their bubble?
Ok, I’m not really sure of his state of mind when he wrote this. Sure, he could have just been mad at me or his mom and was saying, “I can do what I want. You’re not the boss of me.” I honestly don’t think that was the case, but let’s just say that it was his mindset. At least he’s being independent.
Why do we, as adults, tend to look at a child with a disability and assume that they are never going to make it in the real world on their own? I’m not saying that I feel this way; in fact my whole view on this has changed recently. I’m saying typically that is the consensus.
I was in an IEP meeting with a family just the other day when I was told that a child could not perform in the mainstream classroom. He is nonverbal, and has behavior issues. Theseissues stem from the lack of communication. Cognitively the child was up to par.
I had to step back and ask, “Have you given him a chance? How do you know he won’t do well?”
Sure he’s going to have struggles. Sure there are going to have to be modifications. Sure he’s not going to be quite like the other kids, at least not at first.
Were you the best bike rider when you first got on a bicycle? Did you have to have training wheels or someone hold onto the seat for you? I did.
Given the right tools, the right teachers who really care and want to help, and some structure I feel any child can do well with their own peers.
We were told the same thing about Konner when he first started school. He would not conform to the classroom. He’s not going to be able to handle it in there with everyone else.
I’m sure glad we didn’t listen to those people then. Four years into it and I’d say he’s doing pretty well. He’s not where we want him to be just yet, but he’s come a long way from where we started. That’s all we can ask for is to keep moving ahead.
Why must we continue to have this mindset? Of course there are some cases where this may be true, but until we try how do we know? We have to change this attitude.
Disclaimer: I am in no way claiming to be an expert. I’m just a father who is trying to learn as much about Autism as I can to help my child. I hope that you all can learn from me, and I from you. I ask anyone who has questions or comments about something I have written, or autism, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will try to answer questions as I have time, and if I find it interesting enough I may touch on it in my column. You can also find all columns archived at blogspot.com.