Alvin sticks out his tongue when he is nervous

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Alvin's Soul Mate?

My mom recently taught a water safety class to K-2nd graders at the school in which she recently retired. They also included the two special education classes, one of which my mom occasionally subs for the regular teacher. After the class, the special ed teacher brought up one of her autistic students who needed to be able to touch and feel the props my mom used. He was a little guy, maybe first grade and was as cute as they make them. I was immediately struck with how loving and patient the teacher was, so much so that when driving home I became emotional because I thought of how much a parent would want that kind of treatment for their child, and with a class of nine other, very time and energy consuming children, it would be easy to over look the needs he had to feel everything. She took each item he requested and let him feel and hold them. While watching him, I instantly thought of Alvin. The little boy had the same kind of innocence that Alvin has. It's difficult to put into words how innocent Alvin is but I saw it in this child. Of course, there was the similarity of needing to touch everything, but they also shared a gentleness and quietness about them. The teacher reminded me of how my mom and I interact with Alvin when we allow him to nose bump new things. Because of Alvin's innocence and quietness, one can't help but to be slow, quiet, gentle, and patient with him. He really brings out the best in people. I am certain that Alvin is autistic and autism does occur in dogs. I began to wonder how Alvin would respond to a quiet, gentle autistic child. Because most autistic children don't make eye contact, I don't know if Alvin's odd stare down behavior he does with children would scare them, but so often Alvin misses the mark and is staring at their knees, shoes, or wherever. He allows kids to touch him far more than he will allow adults and so I don't know if an autistic child's need to touch would scare Alvin or not. I would love to take this child and see because they clearly demonstrated similar qualities and behaviors. I wonder if an autistic child would be Alvin's soul mate in understanding him. There is a code to be cracked with Alvin and although I take guesses, I know that I am very limited in understanding his needs and behaviors. I am certain they all mean something even though it often looks like nonsense but as a non-autistic human, I just don't get it most of the time. Maybe Alvin's calling is to be a therapy dog for an autistic child, although he very well might loop the kid into traffic or constantly trip him when he wraps his leash around their ankles. So, although his therapy dog career could end in disaster, I have a feeling there is something to be learned about him through the eyes of autistic children. Stay tuned.......

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