Filed Under (Autism and Learning, Development) by Estee on 10-11-2009

I’m hard pressed to ever state that Adam really can’t express himself. I mean, I find myself saying it some days in terms of verbal communication. But really, he is an expressive guy. If I were to take an accounting of his “expressiveness” and his “ability to communicate,” I might end up with something like this:

1) He is so affectionate, but not to everyone. He is discerning in who he expresses affection to;
2) He only really wants mom and dad and gives us extra special hugs and tends to shun others away as he wants us all to himself;
3) He knows who his family is because he has variants of affection for different people;
4) He cries when he knows he has broken or made a mess of something;
5) He cries when he thinks he’s upset someone, or that he knows someone is upset;
6) He dances when he’s happy (not the happy dance, but real dancing);
7) He sings what he can’t say — when mom and dad were together with him the other day, he sang Beyonce’s “I’m a Single Lady” — a song that came out at the time of the separation. Here I will add a little bit of my memory of other children I knew when they were little who dreamed of their parents back together again. I imagine this is Adam’s way of telling us the same and that he recognizes the current situation;
8) He laughs at funny things — he laughs at my jokes and he laughs when he’s trying to make me laugh;
9) He talks more and more each day;
10) He types more and more (independently) each day;
11) He reads out loud and understands what he is reading;
12) He knows how to manipulate certain people who all respond to different things. He knows how to “work it”;
13) He uses a word to describe what he is looking at (i.e.; he may type sock and then I can help him build a sentence to correlate with the work GAP he is peering at on his sock so he can type, see and say).

I could go on but it’s late and I’m tired and I’m just basically trying to say how Adam is such a Mensch to me in every way. He works really hard, he wants to do things, he loves people, and his will is strong. I see and experience how hard it is sometimes for him to stay focused and I’m still very proud of him. When his fabulous assistant (she has been with us for five years now and counting), told me that he went wild for Carmina Burana at school, I smiled. I went wild for Carmina Burana when I was young and consider it to be my foray into classical music because it’s so dramatic. Adam danced and moved his body to the music. When I see his notebook wherein Adam is struggling to draw, he is specific about what he is drawing (his assistant writes what he has named his characters that he struggles motorically to draw). And all I can do is keep trying hard with him, to learn, to keep an open mind, to provide him various modalities with which he can work and express himself.

Expression, thank goodness, comes in so many colourful forms.

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.


About Me


I’m a PhD candidate at York University, Critical Disability Studies, with a multi-disciplinary background in the arts as a curator and writer. I am the Founder of The Autism Acceptance Project (, and an enamoured mother of my only son who lives with the autism label. I like to write about our journey, critical issues regarding autism in the area of human rights, law, and social justice, as well as reflexive practices in (auto)ethnographic writing about autism.