Susan's Blog

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Our Dance Card is Full

It is morning. I got up very early, because I heard Nat talking to himself, whispering, actually. I love that sound, even at 5:45 am, (Ned feels differently). When Nat is home he just fills up the house with his big walking, his self-talking, and his smile-face yellow tee shirts. I have really compartmentalized my weeks. Monday through Thursday I am in Susan Work Mode, where I am busy with Ben, Max, writing, household, and workout. Friday comes and I’m thinking of Family of Five, of Nat coming home, how I have to be here at 4 for his van. It used to be every day. It’s a huge change.

On Fridays I have to remember to check my datebook to see what the weekend holds. I also write stuff down on the kitchen blackboard, which is all smeary with orange dust; the tiny orange stump of remaining chalk fits just between my fingertips, so writing on the blackboard is reduced to bare-boned language: 6/11 Max tutor. 6/16 Max dentist. 6/18 Ben field trip.

6/13 Max ACT. Max is taking the ACT today [a similar test to the SAT, but better in many ways], in just a few hours. He has gone through a minimum of individualized tutoring through those one of those ubiquitous Kaplan test prep factories. Those guys were actually pretty amazing, the way they tailored the sessions precisely to Max’s needs. They even called to wish him good luck.

I am newly impressed with Max and his ability to advocate for himself. He figured out fairly early on this year that there were things he would have to do if he was going to be able to do what he wanted in life. He also realized he was up against some stiff competition at Brookline High, so he has quietly but seriously gone about his junior year at a constant, successful pace. Typical of Max, with no fanfare, just sailing his yacht through any kind of waters, tan and sure, evenly and smoothly, a tidal wave of achievement in his wake.

The other item on the messy blackboard: 6/13 Nat prom. Yes, today’s the day. The House took the guys to the tux place and got them fitted. The boys picked out their own colored accessories. I asked Nat what colors he picked and he said, predictably, “yellow and orange.” I told Ned, with a smile, and he said, “Nat will be able to carry that off.”

Nat’s teacher prepared the boys all week for the dancing. She created social stories for them about the prom, from the special clothes they will wear to asking a girl to dance. Each boy has a card with Meyer-Johnson pictures and/or text reminding them of what to say. Gives new meaning to the phrase, “Dance card.” They can even hand the card to the girl, and wait for her answer.

Even if she is non verbal, how could she not say yes?


OMG I can't wait to see prom pics!!!

— added by eileen on Saturday, June 13, 2009 at 8:15 am

I teach at the high school level for our ASD program. We have a prom for our students every year and I have to tell you they are a blast!!!! Everyone gets dressed up, we have a wonderful dinner and then the night is filled with dancing. The dance floor is full all night long. I hope Nat's night is as fun as ours is.

— added by debra on Saturday, June 13, 2009 at 6:27 pm

Can't wait to see the prom pics! Hope it goes delightfully.

Good luck to Max on the ACT, too!

— added by Niksmom on Sunday, June 14, 2009 at 7:12 am

Katie bar the door! Nat Batchelder is stepping out tonight…and he's on fire!

— added by Michael on Sunday, June 14, 2009 at 9:20 pm