Off the script

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom was our go to book for a long time. As we would conclude our bedtime routine, we’d spend countless minutes on the very back page where each letter would be represented by its uppercase and lowercase version.

Sawyer would point to each letter and say what it was. There were some nights he’d recognize them and many nights it seemed like it was his first time that he ever witnessed them.

Whether he was 3, 4, or even 5 years old, this was our balloon of hope. Our dream that he would learn his letters and one day be able to read.

Reading opens up doors for all of us. It may even be something that we take for granted as it almost seems like a given. However, nothing is a given with Autism. If something is earned, it hopefully is never let go of.

History has taught me that everything I’ve read about Autism is that the spectrum goes on for miles. I tend to not even try to determine where Sawyer may fall. I’m more interested in his own book rather than compare it to others.

This is why at age 6, I was excited to see him grab books and pretend to read them. I recognized the interest was there. Even though he was scripting from what he had heard, I knew he was closer.

This was no different than the 4 year old Sawyer who climbed up a chain fence one afternoon at Cobe’s baseball practice and climbed down. He may have been two years late to the developmental party but he did it when he was ready.

So when my wife, Kellie called me last week on my way home from work to tell me that Sawyer read over her shoulder an email that she constructed, I was surprised but not shocked.

Nor was I shocked when he read to us aloud that same evening out of his Dora book.

This is who Sawyer is. He does things when he is ready.

He’s a reader now. He does so because he’s off his own script. And right now, his script is being written on his own terms.

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