Subtle Autism

Asperger’s Syndrome can be devastating in its subtlety. How can this kid who doesn’t rock or flap, who carries on conversations with adults, be autistic?

Well, this is the kid who at age two couldn’t go to bed unless his toy cars were lined up according to color and size. This is the kid who at six still looked for pets when told it was raining cats and dogs. This is the kid who, at age 14, didn’t understand why I couldn’t get his meds right away because the pharmacy counter was “swamped.” This is the kid who, when asked in second grade to write down as many words as he could think of in a minute, named military bases – in alphabetical order. This is a kid who threw chairs in school and banged his head because he couldn’t write fast enough to do a timed math test, because his perfectionism wouldn’t let him leave an imperfect number alone. This is the kid who needed a “translator” to watch whatever he watched, so someone would know what he was quoting and therefore help determine what he was trying to communicate, especially when he was stressed.

Thanks to amazing teachers, a wonderful principal, and using every waking moment as a “teachable moment,” he’s learned to ask instead of react when he doesn’t understand something, or when something upsets his world, or when change stresses or worries him. He’s progressed beyond our wildest dreams.

He found music, his voice, and his soul. He now plays three instruments, sings, and dances. He wears the shirt in the photo with pride during Autism Awareness Month. Next fall he will be dismissed from Special Education Services.

This mom couldn’t be more proud.

Jen Erhart
Aberdeen, SD

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