I was asked one time what it means when we hear Courtney say a word. Does it mean she’s getting closer to talking more? Why is it so hard to get her to say it again? I wish I can answer questions like that, but I can’t. What I can tell you is it is a sign that she’s taking it all in and that there is a lot in that brain of hers. I think that’s why Autism has been so fascinating to me and even frustrating. Some of these children have so much information in their head but getting them to share the information is a challenge. Let me tell you though…when you are able to see even the smallest glimpse of the things children with autism have in their head, it is beautiful. That’s why I find the job of teaching children with autism so rewarding. Those tiny little steps are such a huge celebration and so rewarding to see.

Today I got a wonderful e-mail from Courtney’s summer school teacher:

Good afternoon,

I wanted to let you know that Courtney had a fantastic day today!  While completing a puzzle, she labeled the following letters: v, m, k, o, a, n, p, q, u, h and the sound for z!  During circle time, she said c and d before they came in the song.  She also said “p pie” and “p pizza” while completing a matching activity.

Have a great afternoon!

Yes, I had tears rolling down my face when reading that e-mail. One of her therapists was at the house when I got the e-mail and I of course immediately read it to her. Her response was, “wow, the stars were certainly aligned for her today”. That actually describes it perfectly. For a child like Courtney, to get her to perform like this, so many things have to be perfect. What “things” have to be perfect? I responded to the therapist today by saying “that’ for sure, I only wish I knew what stars were aligned so we can repeat it”. She replied back saying, “unfortunately it’s not just a few stars, it’s thousands of stars”. This is definitely true. Not just for Courtney, but for all people with Autism. For Courtney, maybe she had the perfect night of sleep, maybe the bus wasn’t as warm, maybe the other children on the bus weren’t as loud on the way to school, maybe one of the student’s in the class who usually makes a lot of noice wasn’t as noisy. There is no way of knowing why Courtney could verbally label letters today but not any other day this week. There is no way of knowing if it will happen again tomorrow or will I have to wait a month before I hear it again. What I do know, is this shows the information is in there. Courtney does know her alphabet. Up until recently, I would have told you she doesn’t know her alphabet. It’s hard, but I try not to focus on when she will talk, but boy does it make me happy when I do hear it.


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