Everything goes in, small bits come out.

This morning as I was having a snack with my son, I remembered a past student of mine, Steven was his name. When I had Steven in science class in 7th grade, he was a quiet, very solemn young man who avoided my eye contact at all costs and to get him to react to anything was difficult at best. Having a child of my own with an autism diagnosis, I immediately became attached to Steven and put forth as much effort as I could to get him engaged. I learned that humor and patience were the way to his heart. I watched Steven blossom that year and into the next, when he started 8th grade. I would see him often in the hallway and talk with the special ed teacher to keep updated on Steven's progress. I loved this young man so much and knew that he had a lot to offer. One day the special ed teacher came to me, with the goosebumps still visible on her arms. You see, while trying to get Steven to finish a test in the special ed room, he said something so profound to this teacher that caught her off guard and gave clarity to the world of autism. When this teacher pushed Steven to finish a test, getting a bit angry that he was just sitting there not working after she knew he had paid attention in class and they had studied together, she asked Steven why he wouldn't just finish the test. "Don't you remember any of this?" was the question the teacher asked. Steven replied with, "Mrs. R, I see everything, I hear everything, I know everything. I just don't know what to do with it all." And that, my friends, is autism. Our kids are so bombarded by the world around them, that they simply don't always know what to "do with it all." Talk about information overload!! That quote from Steven gave me a better understanding of my own son, even though my son is mostly nonverbal.
Today, Steven is a senior in high school, drives a car, and the last I heard, he even had a girlfriend!! He will always remain in my heart and in my thoughts, and his words from that day often give me strength to move on, helping my own son.

All I can say is.....(:

Bravo Daina..... Great post!
You are a fabulous teacher, I wish all educators would follow your lead.

Breathtaking post, Daina

Breathtaking post, Daina . . . thank you. And this reinforces that we need to be mindful of the words that we and others say around these wonderful, bright, sensitive children and the energy and thoughts that are projected around them.