Lauren and I have a six-year old student in our class who was diagnosed as 'borderline' or 'mildly' autistic. Autism and Asperger's Syndrome are not something that I know too much about although I continue to learn more all the time. My feeling is that no one knows too much about it, but I could be wrong. This boy is extremely sensitive, very emotional, funny, endearing, frustrating, artistic, surprising, gentle and sweet. When he smiles and his face lights up you cannot help but smile yourself.
Yesterday I asked the students to write about something they know a lot about. As I conferenced with the children I noticed many of them writing pages and pages detailing facts about their families, Greek Mythology, pets, shopping, non-fiction and pizza. However, one student (the one mentioned above) was frustrated because he was having difficulty understanding the task. He knew he wanted to write about Spider-Man but could not verbalize his thoughts to me. I gave him encouragement to write something, anything about Spider-Man. Then I left him and went to meet with other students. About 10 or 15 minutes later he brought me an 11 page story. It's sequential, beautifully drawn and shows that he knows a lot about Spider-Man. Not bad for such a short span of time. Lauren and I were both impressed. He was proud of himself.
There is a line in Tennessee Williams "A Streetcar Named Desire" that is spoken by Blanche while she is out with Mitch. She says "Sometimes, there's God so quickly". My interpretation of this is that in an instant we can be struck by amazement such as when a secret is revealed and we are suddenly happy. That is what I felt when I read this story. And while I read it his face lit up..."God, so quickly".