My son was meant to do a reading in front of the entire school this morning. He and several of his Year One friends had been chosen to do the “Prayers of the Faithful”, little prayers they take turns to read out, ending with them asking, “Lord hear us?” Then we all say, “Lord hear our prayer”.
When his teacher first told me that Giovanni had been selected to do a prayer at mass, my first thought was, “He’s never going to do that”. Giovanni, seven, is on the autism spectrum and some feats are just beyond him, speaking in front of large crowds being one of them.
He’s good one-one-one though. It’s one of the reasons he was diagnosed so late. “But he talks to me all the time,” people would assure me. Except if he doesn’t know you or isn’t comfortable with you and becomes mute, starring at the ground, slightly to the left, as he tends to do.
"He's just shy," people would assure me.
"He just enjoys his own company," others said.
Now that he has been officially diagnosed life has been better. His teachers and I no longer push him to do things he's not comfortable doing. If we do push him he tends to shut down. Sometimes if he is particularly anxious he starts rocking back and forth. We've learned not to push him and to let him try things in his own time.
I was surprised he had been chosen. I know why he was. He's made such amazing progress this year thanks to his brilliant teachers (I really can't give them enough credit) and excellent school staff. We figured, why not?
Except a little voice told me he wouldn't do it. Then I became angry with myself. I told myself to stop putting limitations on him and assuming the worst. He may just surprise me, surprise us.