A Modern Day Fairy Tale: Meet Shaun: My 1 in 88

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Meet Shaun: My 1 in 88

1 in 88 children are now said to be affected by Autism. As you all know, my Shaun is one of them. There is a saying in thr Autism community, "If you know one child with Autism...you know one child with Autism." Every child on the spectrum is completely different- different interests, different strengths and weaknesses. One of the most common comments I hear when people find out he has Autism is, "I would never have guessed. He seems so normal/smart." I no longer care for that word. Normal. For so many, the word Autism brings up images of Rain Man, or a silent child, completely in his world, oblivious to ours. This is far from the truth. So today, I want to introduce you to Shaun, one of the many faces of Autism and some of the things that make him the wonderful, individual little boy he is.

  • He is 4.5 years old.
  • He's obsessed with Thomas the Tank Engine (and owns 100s of trains/several tubs full of track), Angry Birds, Pac Man and production companies. Yes, you read that correctly: production companies. He must know who made a movie before watching it, and will 'build' them with his legos or make mommy write them all out.
  • He's scared of movie/tv show credits. Among other random fears.
  • He has an amazing memory. He constantly shocks me with the amazing details he seems to memorize.
  • He can be quite particular/doesn't deal well with change. He will only watch certain movies, must always sit in his seat at the table and so on. For a more specific example, we recently went to McDonald's where he was so excited to get a 'happy meal in a box'...but when he got his meal, it was in a bag...hello meltdown! I honestly thought trading in our truck was going to send him over the edge!
  • He can read. He taught himself to sight read familiar words at just 2 years old, and at 4 can now read full books, both by sight and phonetically. (Which I might add makes going out to eat fun...he always manages to find the desserts section of the kids menu and order from that!) He will also sometimes steal my computer and update my Facebook status for me. 
  • He will be the sweetest boy in the world one minute, and have the worst temper the next. Often it's the simplest of things that can bring on a meltdown.
  • He's very visual. Tell him verbally to do something and you'll be waiting for ages...use pictures or write out his instructions and let him see/read it...he's much more likely to respond well!
  • He knows technology! He can work an iPad/iPhone like a pro and knows all about the internet and computers. We have to watch him carefully because he likes to get on youtube and search Google...oh boy!!
  • He likes to chew...furniture, windowsills, clothes, himself...whatever's accessible. 
  • He likes to give nicknames, typically featuring his favorite things: Thomas trains, Angry Birds, Pac Man...then of course there is Lego Mommy, Lego Shauny and Lego Daddy.
  • He's all boy...he loves playing in the sand, dirt and all things boys love.
  • If he says/does something he enjoys once- he'll want to repeat...again and again and again. Don't start anything entertaining with him unless you intend to be able to keep it going.
  • He sleeps horribly, and always has! He at least does sleep better than he used to, but he has so much energy, it's hard to turn it off.
  • He's not unsocial, but he doesn't always know what is appropriate socially and doesn't communicate as well as what would be expected for typically developing peers (though I have to say he has made astounding progress in this area).

And the list goes on and on and on...he has his struggles, but he also has some amazing talents and all these unique interests that come together to form this amazing little boy who you cannot help but fall in love with. He is not Rain Man. He is not the stereotypical face of Autism many come to expect. He is 100% uniquely Shaun, who just happens to have Autism.


  1. Your little guy sounds awesome! The faces of Autism are so different- each one unique. :)

  2. Such a beautiful boy! Would you like to stop by my blog and tell me what you think? Following you :)


  3. Love him! I am a new follower too. Shaun is absolutely beautiful.

  4. Your son is a very lovable boy. I can relate to you in some ways because my cousin has Autism. They do have special needs but there are things where they really excel and, as you described him, he definitely excel in a lot of things. :)


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