The Kid (who has Aspergers Syndrome) graduated from sixth grade this week, thus allowing us to stop helping her with homework for three months. Each year I've worried this will be the year that her abilities to focus and deal with social situations will not match what the new grade will require, and each year I'm happily proven wrong.
Next year will be further complicated by hormones, which are beginning to bubble in churn in The Kid and her scholarly compatriots. I have to add in the worry that The Kid (who is doing a very good job of becoming a young lady) will be placed in situations that she's not emotionally equipped to handle. She's 12, but "a very young 12" as The Wife describes it. It'll be curious to see how that goes.
She's made remarkable progress. Over the last year or so, her habit of parroting snippets of dialogue from her favorite shows (which we refer to as "TV Talk" or "Doing a bit") in a non-sequitur fashion (making her sound for all the like Ed from Ed, Edd & Eddy), she has slowly started dropping the lines into conversation in context, making the jump from echolalia to cultural reference, from weird to wit. Lately, she's started manufacturing her own jokes - after watching an online clip for the upcoming seaon of America's Got Talent (which did, I'm proud to have predicted, include a clip of Susan Boyle, which suggests they're still trying to take advantage of her fame) she calmly and in a perfect deadpan, said "Well...that was disturbing." Perfect timing and everything.
Also, she's started asking about the words she's parroting. Before she wouild just recite the scenes verbatim, with different voices and deliveries. Now she's starting to ask what the words mean. That shows a real interest in what she's doing and saying, and it's real progress. She came to The Wife yesterday and asked "What's 'Ova' mean?" Not knowing the context of the question, she gave a brief chapter from The Birds and the Bees. I came home, asked my automatic counterquery, "Where did you hear the word?", not in an accusatory way, but because context is important with words that have multiple meanings. Once I realized she had been watching clips of Japanese cartoons on the YouTube, I was able to explain to both Kid and Wife that it's an acronym for "Original Video Animation", the Anime version of "Direct to DVD". Oh how we laughed.
She's also started reading as a leisuretime activity. She has decided that Sonic the Hedgehog is the greatest character in all of literature, and has voraciously been digesting all the Archie Comics titles as well as the cartoons and, yes, ova. I've been feeding her the Johnny DC comics as well, including Tiny Titans and Super Friends, so she's slowly but surely understanding that reading can be more then the thing they make you do in school. Again, great news for her pro-reading parents.
Compared to many of the kids in her assorted therapy classes, we got off remarkably lucky. She surely needs the help, and she's made so much progress since she started that we're really quite thankful. She used to be almost three years behind developmentally (at the age of five, that's a hell of a lot), now she's about eighteen months, if that. If that keeps closing in, it'll be very good news indeed.
We'll be at Wizard World Philly this weekend. I'll be looking for more Norberts. She'll be looking for new Sonic comics.