Archive for September, 2010

A Clay Storm

satellite image of hurricaneGot caught in a perfect Clay storm yesterday afternoon. Here is what happened:

I take a shower around 4 p.m. (A busy day)

Head to the kitchen to get started on dinner. While I chop zucchini and peppers to roast on the barbecue, Clay alternates between scarfing the vegetables out of the bowl and diddling around with the sealed bottle of marinade.

Vegetables chopped, I pull off the tight seal on the top of the marinade, not realizing that Clay has managed to unscrew the top almost completely. The key word there is “almost.”

I shake the marinade vigorously to mix the oil with the other ingredients. Read the rest of this entry »


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Diving Butterfly

image of cover The night before we met with Clay’s “team” at school last week, my wife told me a story. A story I hadn’t heard before. It explained how—after years of silence from the little guy—we wound up at our kitchen table preparing for a meeting to integrate a computer keyboard into his high school classroom.

A year ago, we didn’t know if Clay would be able to type. We weren’t completely sure if he could read. We certainly didn’t know he could do addition, subtraction and multiplication in his head. He hadn’t used speech to communicate in five years. I had my darker moments, but I don’t think my wife ever stopped believing that underneath Clay’s often distracted and hyperactive exterior lived a boy who was listening, learning and longing to do more with his life than he had thus far. She had spent a weekend at Syracuse University learning about typing with support. She read herself to sleep at night with books on the key techniques and stories of people with autism who had broken through the silence.

We had talked about the possibility of Clay learning to type, but hadn’t taken concrete action to get it started. Read the rest of this entry »

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3,877 Hot Dogs

Image of hot dogs on grillThis past Wednesday night, Clay was upstairs with the aide that works with him at home when I heard the robotic sound of the keyboard he uses to communicate.

“I am really hungry.”

Not surprisingly, moments later he and the aide tromped down the stairs to the kitchen, where I was chopping vegetables for dinner.

“What would you like to eat?” I asked. In her daily report, his teacher wrote that Clay was “very hungry” at school that day. He had been eating all afternoon, and already had inhaled a plateful of french fries. But it was 6 p.m., and I know he was looking for more.

“Hot dogs,” he typed.

“OK. How many do you want?” Read the rest of this entry »

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