Paul

A few years ago I was doing some advocacy for a boy with Autism. He had come to a meeting at my office with his mom, and we needed a second meeting to go over some paperwork before meeting with the school system. The boy, Paul, appeared on my porch, saying, “Oh, I remember you. You’re that old one”. Now, granted I was quite a bit older than his mother, and Paul was simply remembering who I was. I took it in stride, agreeing with him that indeed I was the old one and we had a very productive meeting. Of course, when Paul says socially inappropriate things like that to others, to peers, to teachers, he doesn’t often get a positive response. The school system agreed he needed a social pragmatics group and eventually, Paul learned when to say what he meant in slightly more appropriate ways. Being on the Autism spectrum makes life very hard for not only the student, but for the whole family. My job as an advocate is to help everyone understand and appreciate boys like Paul, rather than judge them, punish them, or shut them out.

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