I remember singing Walk Like An Egyptian when I was younger. I would have never known that Sydney would sing The Bangles hit song today. Sydney is now an Egyptian Princess.
Children with autism have a variety of interests. People will ask me what is Sydney obsessed with now. I try not to think of it as obsessions, but as her hobbies. When Sydney was younger she loved Toy Story. She carried Woody and Jessie around with her all of the time. After Woody and Jessie, she switched to Elmo, The Backyardigans, Disney Princesses and The Smurfs.
Her latest hobby is Ancient Egypt. She will google images, books, and videos. I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to find out why Ancient Egypt. I think it started with her Halloween costume. After months of her research I asked her to complete a graphic organizer about Ancient Egypt. Then we would write a paragraph about it.
Sydney is a great reader and her spelling has improved. She has good ideas and a wonderful imagination. When I gave her the paper she began to write down words and phrases about Egypt. She wrote pyramids, Cleopatra, King Tut, sand, snakes, wedding, hot and a few other words. For the most part her spelling was accurate. I asked her if she wanted to write a story to entertain Poppa or write a story with facts. As soon as I mentioned Poppa she said “write a story for Poppa”.
Sydney began to write about a girl named Sydney that was an Egyptian Princess. She had a brother named King Tut. We worked on the story for about twenty minutes. I wanted to end on a high note so we stopped. We will add more to the story today. Then she can paint her picture for the story.
Writing a simple story may seem like no big deal. Seventh graders are writing much more. But I am proud of Sydney for picking her own topic and doing her best. Sydney was a child that couldn’t hold a pencil and form her letters. She wouldn’t sit long enough to complete a task unless it was eating dinner. Sydney wasn’t able to spell or read. She was isolated and didn’t want us around. Now we can’t get rid of her.
Sydney is initiating contact with others. She’s learning to orient her body toward the person speaking to her. Her echolalia doesn’t happen in every conversation. These milestones are huge for Sydney. We have been trying different programs and strategies. I am not a patient person, so instead of starting one program at a time. I started several. I am not sure what is working. But I thank God for her progress.
Every autism family has a different story to share. Hopefully our journey will inspire others to never give up and walk in faith on their autism journey. Or you can walk like an Egyptian like Syd.