No-one taught Hugh to read. At age 2.5 he began to figure out the pattern. We put the closed captions on the TV so he not only heard words but saw them at the same time. His vocabulary was soon way above his age level, in part because of this. At 3 he got his first augmentative communication device where he could type out words to speak to us. He refused to use the picture symbols that most of the children his age who had that device were using because he liked the letter patterns and they made sense to him. Pretty soon he was correcting our spelling and punctuation.

He also had a thing for logos for a long time for similar reasons. Hugh also can be very frustrated when he doesn’t quite understand something, but once it clicks, it’s really in there. So much of your story really resonated for me even though Hugh has had a pretty different experience. I don’t like the term “high functioning” either. Hugh may always live with help, and be non-verbal, but he’s incredibly smart and empathetic on an energetic level. He has many gifts as well as many challenges. To call him or anyone else low functioning would be to fail to recognize all of that.

I’m so glad that I got to read this story and to learn more about your journey to the person that you are today❣️

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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