Susan's Blog

Saturday, May 5, 2012

It’s a wonderful life

Every now and then Nat tells us he would like to send an email — well, we ask him if he wants to and usually he says no. But today he wanted to. This was after we had a conversation about his new job, which is at a supermarket near his day program. Nat told us that he “used the computer” (and indeed, the job coach trained Nat in safety skills on the computer) and also that he put the carts “in the right order.” We asked him where he put the carts and he said, “in the cart,” which is also accurate; they get shoved one into the other, as we all know. (The reason I comment on accuracy is that in the past Nat has had default answers that he gives when he wants to get us off his back and stop talking to him. So often he would answer correctly but untruthfully. But when he is in the mood to communicate, he struggles to find the precise word he wants and you can depend on this being a recap of exactly what happened for him.  When he opens up to us like this, it takes my breath away — but never my words. I store it away and then I have to tell the world, write it on thy doorposts and upon thine gates, that this is a real person, with an entire inner life, and just a different way of living it or talking about it. That fact is of Biblical importance to me.)

Back to the conversation itself. He has also told us that Sean is his job coach. And Holly is his house manager. You will see in his email that each line is a separate paragraph, about a different topic!

The cool thing is that the whole conversation began with Ned asking Nat what was going on, and Nat replied, “Not much.” He is really learning how to converse the way we do, down to the silly small talk. (Chit chat is the true silly talk, not the self-talking Nat does, which actually has meaning!) But I think maybe emailing works for him because it is in a clear context: you are writing to someone, not simply for the sake of writing (after all, who in their right mind would write just for the sake of writing? Oh, yeah, never mind…)

And here is the email, which also talks about what he did today — he went to the swim qualifiers for the Special Olympic State Games which will happen in June. He won gold medals in all three of his events. He told us “lunch schedule,” and by that he meant, we should stick to the schedule and give him lunch after swimming.  It’s all there in the email. Read it for yourself, and see how much you can glean about Nat’s life these days.

How are you? Swmming lunch car gold medal.
House holly reeses bed shop mom
Shaws work cart candy computer tipe sean.
Im good love


I love this so much. and the love at the end…that part took my breath away.
And way to go Nat!! That is an awesome Olympic accomplishment!

— added by Alysia on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Thank you, Alysia!

— added by Susan Senator on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 8:57 pm

It may be short but it speaks VOLUMES! That is great that he can express things about his life.

— added by Kate on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 11:33 pm

Love this post! And nice job Nat!

— added by Suzette on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 11:53 pm

I love this, Susan: “that this is a real person, with an entire inner life, and just a different way of living it or talking about it.” This is my wish: that all parents would have faith in this, to know this, really know it.

— added by Brenda (mamabegood) on Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 7:40 am

Nat is really flourishing…how fantastic. So much for all the early intervention theories and the brain being hardwired by age 5 or something, blah, blah. And I had to laugh, the conversation part reminded me of the other day at Dylan’s school. I go to pick him up, and trying to make conversation I asked him what he had for lunch, knowing I had packed chicken and potato chips. So he answers, I had pizza, and I’m like “no Dylan, what did you have for lunch, today?” and he answers again “pizza” and Im like…no, and then his teacher interrupts and says, no he actually did have pizza, she had bought the class some to celebrate something or another. But I immediately assume he’s not answering the question correctly, I should just shut up, right? My bad!

— added by Eileen from Florida on Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 8:37 am

Nice work on Nat’s part. I doubt our former commander in chief George W. Bush could write a better email without help.

— added by Leslie on Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 9:59 am

I don’t know if there are many in this world who could write an email quite like this! 🙂

— added by Susan Senator on Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 10:06 am

George W would be touched by Susan’s post and by Nat’s email, which he no doubt can read because presidents have to be able to read tele-prompters by themselves. I don’t know how well he bowls.

— added by Julie Campbell on Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Having met George W at a White House dinner (for Eunice Kennedy Shriver), I completely agree. He was absolutely charming.

— added by Susan Senator on Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 3:00 pm

That’s fantastic. What a great email! Thanks for sharing!

— added by Aron Griffis on Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Love it!

— added by Susan on Sunday, May 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Every time I think I’ll never really know what’s going on in my son’s “inner world”, I come across someone sharing a conversation with their child who sounds similar to my own, and I feel renewed hope. I just want a little peek someday… Thanks for reminding me it’s still possible. Major congratulations to Nat for accomplishing this, and for those medals!

— added by kim mccafferty on Monday, May 7, 2012 at 5:26 pm

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