Thursday, October 27, 2011

These Kids Can Do Amazing Things

Jen and I have seen a few movies about autism and it really does open your eyes to the scope of the condition, what it means and how the world might be seen through the eyes of someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder. So once you get past the A-word, it's sometimes remarkable to see what they can do and how they process information.

Jonathan is obsessed with numbers. He now looks at digital clocks and watches and recites the numbers as they change. He counts to 100 with ease and does that a lot these days. He also has a similar obsession with the alphabet.

But yesterday as we had our every-two-month progress report at the Wisconsin Early Autism Project (WEAP), the group that oversees and works with Jonathan every day with intensive therapy, I couldn't believe some of the things Jonathan could do. Sometimes I sit in my office and hear lots of screaming, crying and resistance to therapy--and that doesn't always give me the best impression of ABA therapy. And Jen is the one of us who attends the weekly team meetings and sees Jonathan in action.

Yesterday I had the chance to see some of the programs they are employing, and it's remarkable what Jonathan is comprehending and processing--things like human feelings (they show a picture of someone smiling and he says "Happy!"). He knows words I didn't know he knew. And he learns incredibly fast. So really, since July when he began these programs, his progress has been nothing short of remarkable, and he can do some amazing things he couldn't do before.

So the WEAP therapy program, along with his awesome team at school, special ed and, well, here at home, are all working well. Do we have challenges? Of course we do, pretty much every day. But it sure is nice to see the fruits of labor sometimes to help us continue to move forward on this journey.

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