Monday, May 18, 2009

Miracle at the library

I took T to the library Friday afternoon. He enjoys going because he can sit at one of several children's computer stations and watch the screen do cool things. Several times I have attempted to show T how the game works (if I can figure it out myself!), but he has taken to gently pushing me away and saying "I'll be right back", which in T translates as "Go away." J (He wants me to say "I'll be right back" and then leave, so he prompts me by saying it to me first. Brilliant reasoning, I must admit.)

Note: he has not ever played any computer games other than cause-and-effect games – press a key and something happens – and he hasn't shown interest in those in about a year. We've tried to show him how to point & click with a mouse and move it around, but until Friday, he never indicated that he caught on or showed any interest. Just sitting and watching.

There was a new game on his favorite computer, which looked pretty cool. It was a shape-matching game, and required no clicking of the mouse at all. You just swiped the curser over the shape at the bottom of the screen – which "picked up" the shape – and then you slid it over the matching shape at the top of the screen. I showed T how do to this; he replied by saying "I'll be right back", and I obliged. I came back after a few minutes AND HE WAS PLAYING THE GAME BY HIMSELF.

I didn't know whether to jump for joy or cry or play cool or what. So I stood there in disbelief, jaw dropped, hand to my mouth, in sheer and utter amazement. I then went over to the resource librarian's desk and asked what software was on the children's computers. At first, she seemed a little defensive or annoyed, but I explained that I was witnessing a minor miracle from my autistic son – that he was playing a computer game for the first time all by himself. Well, she was pretty excited about that and was calling everywhere to find out what the program was. She first asked if I could close out the game so we could find out what it was, and I said "Um, I'm not really wanting to interrupt this!" and then she realized how silly that was. After a few phone calls, she had gathered every possible bit of identifying information she could (such a good librarian!) so that I could order it for him. Then she said that this was worthy of notation in their log, and happily went on her way to document the miracle.

Then I stood there in awe. I called Rob to share the moment. He was stunned too. Not that we didn't think that he couldn't do it someday – we knew he could – but playing computer games was yet another way that we got to see just how different typically developing children are from him. Kids his age are computer whizzes. I watch his cousins maneuver the Webkins website and am completely amazed (brilliance in all its different forms runs in the family). But Friday, getting to watch him play this game was like witnessing a miracle. Once again we have proof that he is capable of learning challenging tasks. Every skill he gains is another step toward an independent life. I saw into the future and he was at a desk doing computer work. I've dreamt it, but the dream became more of a vision of possible reality today.

It was a magnificent day. You go, T.


Anonymous said...

I was just talking to a friend about T and how intelligent he is and that each day his parents and family are waiting for and witnessing the connection and lighting of circuits of understanding.
A miracle indeed....
xo nonnie

Anonymous said...

Way cool! Congratulations mom and dad. I love to see patience rewarded.


lemming said...

As Balki said on Perfect Strangers, Now we do the Dance of Joy!"

Do you know this dance? We do it together.

lemming said...

by the by, what was the game?

Sherry said...

:) !!

tommysmommy said...

The game was Reader Rabbit Playtime for Baby & Toddler. This was one of the toddler games. We have since purchased the software, and there are several games he loves! SO exciting.

Marcus Tetley said...

Persist with the computer and games...Most parents say that kids play on computers too much, but the computer to us has been both a godsend and occasionally a nightmare!

Our son started around 10 years ago when he would male me play children's games on the computer, after about 6 months he eventually started to do this for himself. Now he takes photographs on a digital camera, edits them, uploads them to his own site and sometime writes comments about them too.

The only thing I will say to you that I regret is teaching him how to copy and paste. He will not type anything if he can think of a series of links that will lead him to the word so he can copy and paste it. Also, don't let him get dependant on one website only for his entertainment. if the website ever goes off line either for a few minutes or forever there is a great deal of suffering for all the family!

The computer now allows my son to have some kind of autonomy, and this in turn allows me to do the housework or even occasionally relax!