The middle school I just graduated from was big. The procession in the graduation went on for about twenty minutes. It was the longest parade of students in suits or fancy dresses and high heels. The graduation meant a lot to me because I earned it. I thought about my journey to this point. I think I need to say thanks to the school.
In my education, I never had the chance to show my knowledge until middle school. It was the first school that accepted me as a student who could learn at grade level. They accepted me as a person who was different but not who needed to be kept from regular education. Each year got better and quickly became a full day of mainstreaming. When I started I wasn’t sure I could do it. Now I know I can. I am starting high school with the knowledge that I did well in middle school.
My teachers were taking on a new kind of student. Classes were humongous. I got minimal individual attention. Classes were interesting or boring, like any other student’s experience. It was normal boring, not a mind numbing denial of education boring. I am grateful to my middle school for that. Some teachers understood me and my situation better than others. Some were not very insightful at all. Some were open-minded and some were probably annoyed to have a disabled student crowding their classroom with an aide. The truth is, they all gave me a chance. Some people really never have this opportunity. It was hard, but a great thing to learn and be part of regular classes.
I think some people were amazingly helpful so I want to to acknowledge them. First, I want to give special thanks to my wonderful aide, Cathy, for the patience of a saint, her lovely disposition, reliability, and wonderful communication skills. I also want to thank Mr. Miller who was always the problem solver and support I needed in administration. Last, thanks to Mrs. Johnston who in a short time became a huge help to me in my journey toward high school. The rest of the teachers deserve recognition for putting up with me. Ha Ha. 🙂
I have a really lovely grandmother. On the outside she is lively, humorous, interested in many things, and she enjoys life and its ups and downs. She had a big family of four children so she is forever thinking about her family, which is a lot bigger now. She is a stubborn woman too. She resists help. She fights against pity. I have seen her recover from a serious injury. At that time she really didn’t look the way she should at all. She could barely walk or talk, and she stopped acting like herself.
Then, she stubbornly recovered. In a worst case for her, to be limited is unthinkable. She gets motivated by challenges. I would like to have more of her fighting spirit in me. Sometimes I get too lazy, I think.
Last week my lovely grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. I found out a day after my graduation. In a way I knew it was serious because my mom and dad were visiting her often in the hospital. My uncle is a doctor and he came to town to see her, and my parents kept getting text messages all day. I never imagined cancer, though. We always thought about her heart, not her cells. She just had surgery and is trying to recover from it. I will be hoping and praying for her.
Since I behave so restlessly I don’t sit quietly easily in a hospital. It’s not a time for me to get restless. She needs quiet. So, my visits are really brief. I try to work on it because I need to. She needs moral support and I need more self control. It’s a thing of too much emotion for me. It’s hard for autistic people to control since we feel the emotions so strongly.
Wishing my grandmother comfort, strength and healing.
It’s a lovely weekend and I enjoyed a camping trip with my dad and a friend. It was lovely in the high altitude and surrounded by pines. We had a roaring campfire and a tent for me and my dad, and a smaller one for our friend. We had the campground almost to ourselves. It was quiet and tranquil.
Then the wind woke up. Roaring through the canyons, howling and screaming it came in all directions, blasting us with cold air, battering the tents, and really making a sleep in peace impossible. Maybe we slept three hours, or maybe four, but we were truly sleep deprived. And still we enjoyed this beautiful area.
My dad was happy to pack us up this morning and have an early departure while the wind still roared. We both fell asleep when we got home.
It is Father’s Day and it’s a great way to celebrate in a windy tent with my dad and me. This evening we enjoyed a delicious Father’s Day dinner at home. Best wishes to all the fathers reading this today.
The truth is it must be awful to have autism in some parts of the world. I don’t forget my good luck in that if I had to have autism it was in the U.S. I am well aware how my life could have been in a lot of other lands. Since even here people confuse not speaking with retardation, I can only imagine how tough it would be to have no one have time, resources, or social support to help. Then I guess it’s a life of stagnation in an institution or worse. Now I see my blog gets world viewers which is pretty cool. I don’t know how autistic people are treated in these countries. I do hope that my words help in starting to make a new way to hear what autism is for many of us.
Whew. I need summer vacation SO much. This year has been hard. I sit in regular class from eight to three, except for P.E. Then homework. I blog. I write speeches. It’s been a challenge to work on my skills. I have more to accomplish but I am working hard.
I am ready to sit and relax. I count the days til I am free to watch cooking shows, eat a lot of watermelon, swim and ride my bike, see friends and family, and recover and be rejuvenated.
Two more weeks. Will they ever end?
The summer is not coming where I live. Today it rained. We were in long sleeves. This is odd because many times in May it is already like summer. I remember this because my birthday is in May and many times we are already swimming or at the beach. One year it was a huge heatwave. Now you couldn’t pay me to go in the ocean without a wetsuit.
I’m not complaining. Though I love swimming, I hate heat. This sort of prolonged spring is fine and great. The weather is unpredictable in its ways. I am enjoying the cooler end to spring.
I’m back from presenting at the Moses-Aaron Cooperative today with my fellow non-verbal autistic friends. We wrote speeches that are read by someone else. It is a really elating experience. We all were silent and stuck internally for the early part of our lives. Now we are not. It is a terrific thing to be a part of. Thanks to fearless Jackie Redner, the instigator of this important enterprise. This is our third time meeting and hopefully many more will follow.
I take piano lessons. When I started I was sure I could never do a thing with my clumsy hands. My hands don’t listen to me well. I fumble with buttons and shoelaces so I thought, “Right, I’ll play melodies. Ha ha.”
Cool in a way to remember that because I do play melodies now. Some are in two hands. My progress is slow but my skills improve steadily. Sometimes I get discouraged because I can’t control my hands better than I do, but I can control them better than I did. My teacher is patient and kind and I am so lucky to have her.