I’m grateful that within the first year of Sam’s diagnosis a friend of my parents copied journal articles for me and showed me how to read them. Kitty told me it was important to keep up — there was a lot of research being done and we needed to transfer that knowledge in how we worked with Sam.
We learned all kinds of interesting techniques (social stories and video modeling were among the best). We also learned to watch for signs of “readiness.” Kitty showed us that speech has a pattern of development and that Sam’s speech could well be following the pattern, just at a more deliberate, rather than dizzying, pace. When Sam looked ready to learn something, we gave him a leg up and tried to stretch that bit of readiness into other skills.
Autism Speaks helps me continue to stay abreast of the latest in research. (You can subscribe to their science digest here.) There is still a lot of work to be done for the young, but Autism Speaks and others are looking at the problems of under- and unemployment for young adults, too. That topic made their top 10 list this year, and that is good news. We have a choice. If we provide people with autism the right support, they can work and contribute. Or we can do nothing and pay a much, much higher price.