A few weeks ago, while on Winter Break, we ran into one of J’s classmates at the library. The inevitable “what are you checking out?” conversation ensued. We are currently working our way through the library’s selection from the Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Suçie Stevenson (short chapter books with lots of pictures, lexile reding score in the 300-400 range, grades K-2).
The mom mentioned her older daughter had a read a few of those, then asked if J was already reading them. She volunteers in the kids’ class too, so she pretty much knew the answer was yes. Well, when he isn’t being intimidated by too many words on the page and then insists we read it to him (but he will read it himself if we aren’t there – I am on to you kid, ha ha).
I found out yesterday that the classmate went home and was frustrated and a bit jealous because J could read and she couldn’t. She is right on track for Kindergarten reading level, no worries there. She just wasn’t born knowing how to read like J. Her mom explained that was one of J’s special talents. “But what is mine?”
Wow! Here is a 5 year old, already noticing the difference between her and her peers, and feeling inferior. And the peer she is comparing herself is Autistic and hyperlexic. That would be like me comparing my writing skills to a Pulitzer Prize winner, or at least a professional “paid to write” author.
She is one of the sweetest most loving little girls. And, she accepts J just the way he is – which is pretty special in my book. And that is what her Mom told her.
Right now, J is oblivious that other people exist other than to do his bidding or get in his way, but there will probably come a day when he wonders “why can’t I be like…?”
I have to be honest, I am not looking forward to that day.