Tuesday, June 26, 2007


We've been spending a lot of time watching Signing Time around here. Rachel Coleman, whose children are the inspiration for creating the series, also wrote several interesting songs about having disabled children and thoughts about those children, which are often played (and signed) at the ends of the episodes. In one of the songs, Shine, she talks about lists of things she was told her daughter Lucy would never do- and now does. Over the three years we have had a diagnosis for Joey, we have been told by a variety of people that there are things Joey "will never do" because of autism. Mostly, these lists do more to reveal the ignorance other people have of disability generally and autism specifically, than provide any useful advice or information.

Joey may never be able to feel empathy, or recognize emotion. He may never recognize people. He may never generalize skills. He may never talk. He may never read. He may never write. He may never be able to handle change. He may never be toilet trained. He may never point, or have joint attention. He may never make friends. He may never be able to maintain relationships. He may never show emotion. He may never react appropriately to situations or emotions. He may never jump. He may never be able to focus on a task. He may never be able to self-regulate.

All of these things he either does, or is well on his way to mastering.

Sure, there are lots of "nevers" yet to be tested. He may never drive. He may never have a girlfriend. He may never get a job, or keep a job. He may never have the opportunity to go to college. He may never live independently or leave home.

Yet I have the sneaking suspicion that my response should be, as per The Princess Bride: "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means..."


JoeyAndyDad said...

And is it any wonder Finding Nemo is in high rotation in our house as well?

Great post, JM.

kristina said...

And whatever he does, it will be great! --- I think that is more than conceivable.

J said...

Excellent, excellent post, JM! you could not have captured my exact thoughts more precisely.
Now excuse me, I have a land war in Asia to fight...

Suzanne said...

"They'll do it ... in their own time..."
LOVE Rachel Coleman in our house!!!

Niksmom said...

LOVE the Princess Bride reference. (And, um, Steve, promise you won't plot your wife's murder too!? --wink!)

Yes, we have heard "never" so many times — even from my mother-in-law! Ugh. Enough with the harbingers of doom, right?

I LOVE reading about all the stuff Joey is doing and the ways that he (and all our kids) constantly surprise us with such great stuff.