Ryan and Nick have a new occupational therapist. She is on the young side, but she has great ideas about how to merge the outside world and the autistic world. Her name is Alex, and she has been employed for several weeks now. I am thrilled that the boys are now working with a peer. They need to be able to relate to their peers at school and at work.
Peers. More to that word... after talking with Alex about the boys' background and goals, we discussed schools. My boys have attended several schools within the school district, but when I mentioned one, Alex lit up and said she went there for fifth and sixth grade. Alex and Ryan are the same age. Ryan quickly disappeared and returned with a school yearbook. Alex recognized it, "That's my yearbook."
They were classmates.
Ryan found his sixth grade picture, and Alex said, "I know you! You were a little silly and quiet." Alex then found her sixth grade picture, and Ryan could vaguely remember.
This was the first time I've ever heard what a fellow student thought of one of my sons at that time. No one ever described Ryan as silly, but if she weren't aware that Ryan had autism, that is very understandable. A mom always worries about how her sons fit in, especially a mom of special needs kids.
The rest of the session was remembering shared experiences and memories: science camp where Mr. Adams proposed to Miss Nelson, sixth grade teachers, friends and classmates, etc. Ryan talked a lot. He smiled and even laughed a few times. I could not believe the lively interaction between therapist and client.
Nick was two years behind Ryan, so Nick and Alex' paths did not cross much. Nick does not remember her, but he smiled when I told him Alex went to the same elementary school.
What a turn of events! The boys now will really be working with a peer, which is exactly what they need. I am really looking forward to this new perspective for the boys' continued growth towards independence!