Why my lady rocks

For those that haven't heard about it, there is a local autistic boy nicknamed J-Mac that's been getting a LOT of attention on the news lately. In a high school basketball game, the team he manages let him play the last few minutes of the last game of the season. The coach hoped he'd just score a basket to make himself feel good. Instead, the scored a record tieing 6 3 pointers and 20 points overall. In just a FEW MINUTES OF PLAY! Here is some of the latest details. I'm sure you can google more on the web.

So anyway, the Wife decided to post about it on one of the autism web sites. Many of the comments were positive. She and I were emailing about it today and here is part of the exchange:

Wife: There is yet another article in today’s newspaper about J-Mac. The news has spread far and wide. Inquiries have come from news organizations in Japan and Spain. How cool is that?!! I’m also attaching 2 quotes. The first is from today’s paper:

“Van Arnold, Hattiesburg (Miss.) American: "Jason McElwain has probably done more to change the perception of autism than any human being in the past 50 years. ... If you haven't seen the tape, call Greece Athena and get a copy, I'm serious. Coaches everywhere should use this as a training tool — especially for the whiners who squander their talents."

The second is from the autism-pdd message board, and it is the ONLY negative comment I have seen about this story. BTW, HFA is short for high functioning autistic:

“I thought it was rather sad. Apparently he is a HFA. How sad that even though his case is so mild, he is treated as "special". I mean it's great that his school is so supportive, it just makes me depressed about my son's future when I see things like this.”

Why shouldn’t he be treated as “special”? Just because his case isn’t as severe as some others doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have difficulties to overcome. Maybe his dentist can’t clean his teeth, either. Yes, he functioned well in a room with a lot of noise and a lot of people. And he’s probably been receiving services for many years, which have probably paid off. In one article, it was mentioned that he didn’t begin talking until he was 5 years old. He’s come a long way, baby!!

Me: I feel bad for that woman. Instead of Jason giving her hope that her kid too can achieve much, he instead makes her wish for a better kid. That's kind of sad really. Isn't the goal to get your kid to function as best they can?

Wife: That’s EXACTLY what I was thinking. And we don’t really know what our children’s potential is. Remember when Jill told me that their goal was to have Grasshopper attend a regular kindergarten class? I cried because that possibility hadn’t even occurred to me. And yet it happened (with an aide. But he was still in a regular classroom). If Jason can do this, what’s Grasshopper’s potential?? And even though the more severely affected kids probably won’t attain anything like that, you never know what they may be capable of. Did Jason’s mom ever think something like this would happen when her son didn’t speak until the age of 5??

It’s a testimony that these autism programs (and I’m assuming here that Jason has had some specifically autism-related services) really can make a difference.

Isn't she the coolest? Not only does she agree with me (so which one of us is properly trained anyway?), but she's trying to give other parents like us hope and preseting a positive attitude. Now you know why I married her. She's a smart lady.


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