A year ago when Charlie’s speech was quite delayed, he could only make simple requests and would often get his words muddled up. However he still managed to show me that he understood some pretty powerful stuff.
One day he insisted on bringing this book home from nursery school for me to read to him.
This was unusual behaviour for him and this was the only book that he ever asked to take home.
The book was called Avocado Baby,
the heartwrenching story went something like this…
There was once a baby that refused to eat, his mother tried everything…
She was out of her mind with worry, she didn’t know what to do and so she cried.
Charlie’s only comments on the book were
I was so shocked when I read the book to him and when he pointed to the picture of the mother crying. Really, really, really deeply shocked when I saw the level of understanding he obviously had about our situation. This was a child who could barely communicate through speech, who couldn’t get the difference between up/down or open / closed, who would still lead you by the hand to the things he wanted and grab your face to get your attention.
At the time he was being assessed for and was eventually diagnosed with autism.
When people talk about autism they talk about “poor theory of mind”, and “lack of empathy.” It sounds so hopeless and empty. I’m not convinced that the generalizations that are made about autism are 100% true for every child.
Maybe the generalizations are wrong, maybe the diagnosis is wrong, I suppose only time will tell.
The book has a good ending, the family in the book finally discovers avocado pears, the baby will eat them and he grows strong and healthy.
Charlie has made massive progress over the last year, his speech and language and social communication have improved beyond measure. His feeding still remains a challenge, but we have faith that things can and will change.