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Famous Reporter # 33




He can skate!

Blog      http://www.martileimbach.com/forum.asp

1st January, 2006

I am celebrating because my son, Nicholas, has learned to ice skate. You are thinking: how pathetic. How sad. This woman clearly has so little in her life to celebrate.

Or you are thinking, oh no, here comes some sort of nauseating "spiritual" lecture on how we ought to celebrate the small things in life…the colour of the sweet red rose, how the sun rises each day, even the fuzz on our own sweaters.

But no, this really is news – my son can skate and really nobody can imagine that this child would ever get on an ice rink. Here’s why:

  1. He’s autistic and he likes order. Order just doesn’t happen on an ice rink. An ice rink is chaos. In fact, a nice definition of chaos is a city ice rink during school holidays. It’s madness. Some of the teenagers were going so fast I think I saw them blur.
  2. Nicholas doesn’t like loud noises and this particular ice rink plays disco music, sends coloured lights across the floor, and the whole thing echoes under the great dome of the building. When I say Nicholas hates loud noises, he can barely tolerate a hand dryer in a public restroom – that’s how bad it is! And yet, he went boogying around with the other kids…amazing.
  3. Like many autistic people, my son is uncoordinated, has hypotonia (which means his joints are unusually loose) and can’t even walk correctly – so how on earth would anyone expect him to skate? But he can! He can!
  4. Nicholas hates to fall down, get hurt, or watch anyone else fall down or get hurt. And yet he did fall down (though he wasn’t hurt) and then got up and skated without so much as a whimper!

So, I am celebrating. Anyone who has an autistic child will probably be smiling as they read this, knowing what it is like to be delighted by such a seemingly small achievement. At three years old Nicholas had no language, no eye contact, no play skills. At 9 years old he is skating around saying, "I am a power skater." How about that? Raise a glass!


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