Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'm talking, why don't you understand me?

I am one of those people who have vivid memories from when I was two or three years old but can never remember where I put my car keys.  When I was three years old, I was nonverbal.  Less than a year prior, I was developing normally until I lost my language skills. At this time, I had not yet regained my ability to communicate.

At this time, I rode a school bus across town to attend a preschool a few miles away.  This bus parked at the end of my driveway and my mom walked me out to the bus to make sure I got on.  This particular morning, I had received some stickers that I was very excited about.  I held them and played with them and had a good old time.  When I was walking out to the bus, I dropped the stickers and they started to blow away.  I remember pulling at my mom’s hands, trying to tell her that I wanted to pick up the stickers.  She didn't understand me and carried me to the bus.  At that point, I got really upset, crying and screaming.  It was plain to me what I was trying to say. I wanted the stickers.  It wasn't like it would take a lot of time.  Why wouldn't she let me pick up the stickers?

At that time, I didn't understand that my mom couldn't tell that I was saying; that my garbled words did not have any meaning to her.  It was at that point when I realized I was different.  That memory has stayed with me at age twenty three, more than twenty years later.  It was painful to experience at the time, and now I want to use it to help others who are dealing with the negative aspects of autism.

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