Boodi's painting They tell me that my little boys receptive language is that of a much younger child. Do I believe it?

He has trouble focusing on too many things, so most often he either doesn’t notice you speaking to him at all, or he has more important things to worry about. I don’t believe that a couple of strangers with a pen and a check list could accurately measure that in a child who takes such time to get to know.

The scientific and social knowledge of autism is in its infancy. You can’t put too much stock into anyones quantifications of an autistic childs deficits when you don’t have a clue what his beautiful brain looks like.  You shouldn’t put a numerical score on the way that he does things differently to other children. If anything, many things are a hundred times more difficult for him to learn, and when he does, that is worthy of the highest of praise. He gets there on a different timetable. There is so much for everyone else to learn, yet the burden falls on him to try and fit into a world not designed to help him to do it.

When an assessor never even looks at your childs gorgeous drawings but asks you instead, if he knows how to draw actual “things” and you pause, confused, before answering, “Well, no,” (though if he was drawing his interpretation of the Mona Lisa or a portrait of me, his “mum-pig”, we would not know, because he doesn’t possess the language to tell us), do I believe that his drawings are another cross off the list of shortcomings? Never ever ever.

His drawings are a perfect analogy of the gap between his true self and the perceptions  of the world around him. Everybody who knows him loves him, and he has such a long way to go, to reach his stars, but he flies every day, at his own pace.

There is a simple concept within the autism community that asks you to “Presume Competence” and it means:  Always presume, in the face of an individuals  inability to communicate in conventional ways, that that individual is as mentally competent  as you or I, don’t lessen them with your language, or speak as though they are not present to hear.

Believe in them.

I believe in Boodi. It’s a hard road that he has to tread, but he’s got it in him to go all of the way, his own way.

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