In Boo’s last IEP meeting we talked about current goals and also looked ahead into the future. His teachers think that after he graduates he will go into some type of day program. I did not comment on that at the time because I was too busy thinking about the here and now, not 6 years down the road.
Friday night I was at home and Boo was out with his beloved PCA, A. My phone pinged and I looked up. She had sent me a picture of Boo working with LEGOS. The expression on his face can only be described as intense. He was obviously focusing very hard on getting the LEGO in his hand into the perfect place in the stack. I was surprised by two things, his level of intensity and the fact that he was playing with LEGOS. Heck, I did not even know that he liked LEGOS. I was ruminating about this when my phone pinged again. This time showed a picture of Boo working on puzzles. The same look of furrowed concentration was evident on his face. As a toddler, Boo loved puzzles and was a whiz at them. When his sister began to show an interest in them he dropped them cold turkey. I had not seen him touch a puzzle in at least 14 years. I was stunned. In so many of the write ups I have on Boo, the observers have said that his attention is fleeting and it is nearly impossible to get him to focus on the task at hand. Yet, as A told me later, Boo refused to leave the room until he had solved all 4 puzzles, twice. Fleeting attention, hmmm. I wonder.
Boo is very picky about who he will warm up to and who he will perform for. If he does not like you or feels that you underestimate him, he will live down to your expectations. Essentially, he will shut down and wall you out, end of story. If he likes you and feel that you believe in him, he will bend over backwards for you. Boo will bend over backwards for A. She may only be 21, but she has the magic touch for kiddos on the spectrum. This touch cannot be taught in school, it is a gift. Some teachers and PCAs have it, some never will. I am not faulting Boo’s teachers, I think they are doing a good job. They are patient and kind and never give up. But, I have higher plans for Boo then they do. I know he can do more than just be in a day program. I believe that under the right circumstances he can do meaningful work. I will not settle for less, I will not let the system under sell Boo.
I think the first step is to start getting all of his accomplishments on video, to present at his next conference. I can tell his teachers all the things he can do until I am blue in the face, but seeing is believing. I don’t think they believe that Boo can follow two step directions, play with LEGOS or puzzles, put his left overs into the trash or to be recycled, hold open a door for a lady when she walks by, throw and catch a basketball or stay in the proper lane when he is running on the track. I know he can do these things, A knows he can do these things, she taught him. It is time to show the world what Boo can do. He can do so much more than be placed in a day program.