Before there was Autism in our lives, there was the Alphabet.
Back when Autism was nothing more to us than a "Ten Minutes to Wapner" reference from the movie Rain Man, our Little Man showed an an amazing interest in and aptitude for letters. Well before he was two years old he was reciting the alphabet phonetically. At the time, we were amazed at such a demonstration of intellect at such a young age. However, in retrospect, we should have been more concerned when that beautiful little boy woke from his naps - not calling for mom or dad - but reciting a letter of the day along with the sound it makes. "The "A" says "Ahhhhh."
We are now almost 4 years removed from D-Day (the Date of Diagnosis) and his love of the Alphabet has not subsided. He can still get lost in letters.
But when life gives you the alphabet, you make alphabet soup right?
Over time, my wife and I have been slowly able to discover ways to use his reading and writing abilities to get around his communication impairments. Spelling names in sign language helped him learn and remember the names of relatives. Hand written multiple choice questions have helped us understand his needs and desires. Written lists have helped him understand and prepare for what his day will entail. Fill in the blank sentences have helped us learn what he is thinking. None of it is perfect -- all just pieces to the puzzle.
Some day I will write more about the difficult choice my wife and I made when we decided to have another child after our middle son was diagnosed with Autism. The risk of having second child with Autism is significantly greater when you already have one child with Autism.
But, I will tell you this...one of the happiest days of our lives was when we held up the letter "A" to our typically developing three year old little baby boy and asked him "What's this?" To which, he responded "C?"