Paul Follows Thoroughly enjoying this. 1/2 way through this episode.
Very very familiar territory; it is a marvelous trip back in time for me and I’m so happy
to see these things again and feel these levels of compassion again, seeing the adult autism center in particular;
From around 3-5 years old, during the day, I went a cerebral palsy center which was a lot like that area for the adults, but bigger with classrooms and such. It was for ages 3-20 years of age and it was for all levels of disability. Cerebral Palsy, autism, emotional disabilities, down’s syndrome, etc.
I went to physical and occupational therapy there as I was born extremely premature in the early 1970s and had some problems. Whatever they did must’ve rewired my brain enough because i was able to attention regular school at age 5.
Flash forward to when I was 20 years old. I ran out of money for college (was going to be theoretical physics, artificial intelligence, chaos theory or developmental psychology – wasn’t there long enough to have to narrow down) and came home.
At some point of being unable to find work, might have been between jobs, probably around age 23, I decided to volunteer full time at the Cerebral Palsy Center for free.
And so I spent about a year – volunteering full time at the same center I went to as a small child.
I both worked with the kids and also helped set up their computers and assistive technology, such as it was in the early 1990s.
One of my favorite tasks I took upon myself teaching a boy about to age out of the center how to type. He was 20 years old – had to leave by the end of the year.
He had severe cerebral palsy and was non-verbal and had great trouble controlling his limbs.
I’d set up one of the computers with my favorite Word Processing program and I taught him how to type with one finger.
One day, he spent the entire day at the computer – I came in now and again but didn’t know what he was working on – and towards the end of the day one of the teachers got me and said he wanted to show me something.
He showed me this 3 page long letter, perfect paragraphs, that he wrote to his mother thanking her for everything she’s done for him through the years..
I was almost as giddy as he was in happiness that he accomplished this. I got it to print out and he was able to give it to his mother when she picked him up that night.
He reminded me a lot of the young man who was intelligence but had to use a talk board and tablet.
I look forward to the rest of the show; I definitely relate to everything in it so far.