My grandson, Grayson, is not defined by his limitations. Sure, he has many. He has food preferences that limit his desire for food to Honey Nut Cheerios, Boost Nutritional Drink and Veggie Straws. At one time he only at Gogurt out of a tube and completely refused to eat out of a cup with a spoon.
He receives some kind of speech therapy every day, even though he is a four year-old who is able to read and write. This is combined with very sensitive skin and allergies.
Grayson, is like many children today. He is a person with autism. Some of the literature says that autism occurs in one child in every 150 and others say one child for every 70. The most recent estimate comes from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and they say that one child in every 50 is on the autism spectrum.
The biggest component of Grayson and many other children like him is not their limitations, but the character traits that make them a beautiful and creative persons.
The Search for Boost
Because of Grayson’s limited food choices, he drinks a nutritional supplement, Boost. He has learned at school to say, “Drink Boost,” when he wants one. The other day his mother was in the bathroom when he said to her, “Drink Boost, drink Boost.” He has been taught at his school to ask for something two times and he generally gets what he wants. However, his mother couldn’t come immediately to his aid.
When his mom emerged from the bathroom she was able to supervise and take pictures of Grayson’s adventure of helping himself to Boost.
Proud grandfather that I am, I have shown this picture to everyone who will look at it.
Grayson attends Autism Concepts Incorporated in Overland Park, Kansas. It was recommended by Children’s Mercy Hospital that he receive forty hours of Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy each week. Grayson has been attending ACI for fourteen months for forty hours each week. His story is one of an amazing transformation.
When he began, he did not speak. He used a tablet and a program called, “Talk Tablet,” to indicate what he wanted. He now is encouraged by his therapists to ask for what he wants 20 times every two hour period.
The video in my article is a clip of Grayson learning with Jessica how to distinguish between foods. In this instance it is between pizza and grapes. After two to five minutes of learning, Grayson gets a reward that ranges from watching the screen saver on the school’s TV (his current favorite thing to do) or jumping on the trampoline.
The world is full of beautiful people. They fill our media and supermarket magazines. Each day, when I pick up Grayson from his school, I see other beautiful people. They are bright, creative, loving, joyful, and playful children who are on the autism spectrum. The other beautiful people are the parents of these children and the therapists who work with them.
Prayer for Children
Dear God, I pray for all children to experience the fullness of your future and hope for their lives.