Bottom line is the boy is sixteen years old.
By now you’d think I’d be able to see these things coming. You would think, after sixteen years, the gobsmacking would not still take me by absolute surprise and leave me speechless. You would think this would be the case but…NOPE.
I will tell you that as of Monday, when your spectrum kiddo begins to speak of Shakespeare and Macbeth, it becomes something similar to a freeze frame moment where the mom’s brain freezes into a slow motion thing and then it takes a while for everything to really sink in. It’s been sinking in since Monday…. ever since my sophomore-in-high-school, regular-ed-classes-with-NO-assistance-spectrum-kiddo and I had this conversation on the way to school on Monday….
Me: So what do you have going on today? Tests? Quizzes? Anything special?
Him: Nothing really that I can think of.
Him: Oh wait. Did I tell you what happened in English?
Him: On Friday my teacher told me I got the highest test on the Macbeth final.
Me: Wow? Really?
Him: Yeah, I got the highest grade in A-L-L of her classes.
I. Kid. You. Not.
And this is where mom goes into that gobsmacking, freeze frame, s-l-o-w motion, speechless, jaw hanging open kind of moment. And, yes, after sixteen years you’d think I’d be better at this and it would not take me by absolute surprise and leave me gobsmacked but….M-a-c-b-e-t-h and S-h-a-k-e-s-p-e-a-r-e with thee and thy and thou and inferences and hidden meanings all mixed with autism and speech processing delays and a boy who has always held a general dislike of books. Because we’re still trying to master new English and this is Olde English. And this is the same boy who does not do chapter books with characters and emotions, developing plots and keeping track of events. This is the boy who only started reading library books in fourth grade when he discovered the scientific reference book section with books about spiders and reptiles. Did I mention this is the same kiddo who had a “C”in English just a month or so back? Yeah, same kiddo. So, of course, G-O-B-S-M-A-C-K-E-D, slow motion, freeze frame moment for the mom.
Me: W-O-W buddy. That’s awesome.
Him: Yeah, but I’m not sure I made an A.
Me: Really? I bet you made an A.
Him: Maybe everyone else just did bad?
Me: I don’t think so, buddy. I bet you made an A.
Let that sink in, my friends.
ALWAYS. ASSUME. COMPETENCE .
And, turns out, when I picked him up yesterday he let me know he DID indeed get an A on the Macbeth final. Turns out the rest of the class did not do bad :). He just happened to do VERY well and when I contacted his teacher she tells me it was an extremely challenging final that required a high level of recall and analysis and the spectrum kiddo set the grading curve for ALL of her classes.
Yeah, that’s an unexpected and delightful moment. I’m also even more convinced than ever that different is not less.
Sparkle On, Wonder Souls.