After I read this blog, I thought back to Ryan’s school years. Every August, I would meet with his new teachers and review a list we created called, “The Top Ten Things to Know About Ryan Carey.” I always walked away from these meetings hopeful that Ryan would have a successful year. I certainly encourage other parents to consider this option, because it definitely worked for us!
Here are some excerpts from the 2008 school year list:
- Look beyond my diagnosis and see me for whom I am. It’s just “Ryan Carey”, not “Autistic Ryan Carey.”
- When I ask the same question repeatedly, it’s because I get anxious and I am worried about what is going to happen in the future
- I get nervous when I am in social situations, even with people I know well. I’ll say “Hello,” shake hands, but then I will want to go elsewhere
- Intense exercise, such as running for 60 minutes, is the best way for me to relax and calm down. Provide as many opportunities as possible for me to move about freely (in a safe space!)
- When I am crossing streets or in the parking lots, I can sometimes be in a hurry to get where we are going. This causes me to move too quickly, which can be dangerous
- Expect the most of me, just as you would from any other child. You’ll be surprised by what I can do!
I added a note from myself at the end:
“Have fun with him, he will truly teach you more than you will know and being with him is unlike being with any other child. He is truly unique and yes, challenging at the same time. You will need to think outside of the box, and know that what we are doing with him might not always sound like what we should be doing, but we have to do things very differently with Ryan, including how we interact with him. Set your expectations high, because trust me when I tell you that he can do, he can.”