Feelings?

by Nancy Bekhor

Lino and Lourdes

Lino has dyspraxia. This pervading low muscle tone affects his mouth & throat making speech very difficult to do. Diapers are also required.   In middle school he was deemed of low intellect.  He was 9 years of age.

His mother, a night shift nurse and her son’s daytime home educator knew her son was smart and could learn so she requested a more challenging curriculum.  The school’s response to her insistence was to dub her as “lying” and “needing a psychiatrist” .

For herself, Lourdes needed no confirmation.

“Lino, spell a word that starts with ‘ch’ but sounds like ‘k’.”

The 5 other adults present did not know the answer.

Liam spelled: “chiropractor”.

Because he does not ‘speak’, just gutteral utterances, people assume that Lino can neither hear nor understand what they are saying.   When not at home, Lino is in the care of others – unchanged diaper odour… you can imagine the conversations that might swirl around him.

At age 11 Lino was given his first computer keyboard.

He typed his first words.
 “I feel so humiliated”.        

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Lyndal April 11, 2012 at 10:53 pm

I just read the 2 most recent additions to your site. Nancy. they are both encouraging and profoundly sad. How much time have these individuals had to endure before contact has been made? It is even more disturbing when you consider that time for children can seem endless when living through something seen as unpleasant.
I remember leaving my own child Grace, at the age of 3, at a daycare centre for 5 hours. On my return the supervisors informed me that she had cried the whole time. I was horrified, why hadn’t they called? I was struck then by a memory of childhood, of how time seemed to stretch when I felt abandoned or invisible. It is excruciating to have it pointed out that people are living entire lives in this state.
We do indeed need to make changes within ourselves to be more inclusive of individuals with autism. It can’t just stop with the parents, who no doubt would love nothing more than to reach out to their children. We all need some skills.

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