You is smart

Clay hasn’t had a lot to say at our every-other-week typing sessions over the last few visits. We’re not sure why. Sometimes its allergies. Sometimes he’s tired. Sometimes he just can’t get his body and head organized to share thoughts.

Then, sometimes, the words just come tumbling out. He sits right down, puts his arm out for support and doesn’t stop typing until his message is finished.

I don’t know if it was the two weeks off between school and camp. Or the beautiful, clear air. Or maybe the horseback ride that went so well that morning. All I know is that last Saturday, he had a lot to say. It was one of the good days.

It started like it always does. After the usual chance to guzzle some lunch and get the kinks out after a two-hour drive, the teacher, the amazing Lisa Romaine, herded him into the orange room, got him seated at the table in front of his iPad and started with her usual opening: What do you want to talk about?

“want to discuss the way to get people to really take me serously, ” he typed. “what is the way to do that.”

Tough question. There was more.

“i try to act smart by writing smart things but any other things i try dont work and i look dumb. am i doomed by societies perceptions. what can i do to make people understand.”

Then the little guy offered some answers.

“the first thing is that they need to accept that we are smart. the second thing is to see us as people. the third is to look at us with pure love not disdain. this is what i want people to learn. i am telling them so more kids like me will have a chance to be seen smart.”

That took about 20 straight minutes of typing, and he seemed to be done for the session as he headed out of the room into the therapy area. But, after a couple of breaks to swing and wander, he finally offered a little bit more.

“ready to go now i am happy to see you today and want to wet my appetite for teaching others again next time.”

Is that all?


That night, my wife and I watched “The Help” on video, a movie about black maids in white houses in the South. In it, one of the maids repeats the same message to the white children she helps to raise: “You is smart. You is kind. You is important.”

Clay knows we believe that of him (although we often struggle to find ways to help him bring it out). Now, he wants the rest of the world to listen.

Definitely a good day.


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  1. #1 by charbfc on June 29, 2012 - 11:03 am

    I think something is in the air. The young people I type with are more eager than ever to get their thoughts out – and the message is eerily similar. They want to be listened to, seen as smart, and given the respect they deserve. Doesn’t seem to me they are asking for too much. Can we do it?

  2. #2 by Nancy Sierchio on June 29, 2012 - 4:05 pm

    Yes I agree. It is a constant message our son also shares. His biggest frustration is being able to talk but because of his Autism his articulation is poor which makes it challenging for understanding what he is saying. He knows how he sounds and doesn’t like it.

  3. #3 by Kathy on June 29, 2012 - 9:15 pm

    You ARE smart, Clay……and brave, It is not easy to live in this world sometimes. You just need to keep reminding us to see how smart and caring you are, and try to stop worrying about what other people think. And maybe someday, the people in the world will get it. And then they will be smart like you!

  4. #4 by merle holman on June 30, 2012 - 9:34 pm

    If Clay could “speak” these words he would probably be ready for college….his vocabulary and way of expressing himself is so mature and articulated so clearly. Tell him that many of us understand his frustration and do take him seriously.

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