Our days start out slowly, as always. We each warm to the early hours in our own way. Me, under the duvet with a cup of coffee and a few guilty pages of a book. Sami, sleeps late. He is a night owl, reading long past when sleep has taken the rest of us. He loves history and Harry Potter. Oliver is the only industrious one among us. He wakes early, has breakfast and a bath and waits patiently to sit down with me at his desk to start school for the day.
Each day at his desk begins the same, seven days a week. I ask him what he would like to begin with: math, science or typing practice. He chooses typing. I knew he would. Some days it comes easier than others but his persistence is constant. Someone asked me recently what new things I am learning about Oliver now that he can communicate more and, although I didn't think to say it at the time, it's this. His persistence and his drive to follow a course that he set for himself is one that I could not have imagined six months ago. It's hard, this thing he is doing. I see his struggle. Sometimes he complains through wails and protests that it is so hard. But he remains seated. He doesn't give up. He always sits down, ready to begin. This, more than the communication itself is why I find myself worrying less and less about what the future holds.
Today, I asked Oliver what he would like to write about and he told me that he would like to write a blog post. I wanted to know why he always asks to write for the blog and we agreed his reply would be posted here as his contribution:
I think it is important for people to know that people with autism like me can communicate if they are given the right support. And when the kids who learn to type show you that they are much smarter than you thought i really just hope the autism experts eventually take notice. They just say that having severe autism means low intelligence but they are the ones who need the real education. You should try to listen more to people that can finally tell what it is you are trying to understand. We want you to hear us so our lives can be easier.