My 9-year-old son, B—, is on the spectrum. He was given the diagnosis, PDD-NOS, at the age of four.
That stands for Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified. In short, he didn't speak in complete sentences until he was four. It took him a year to learn six basic colors. He didn't fear eminent personal danger of oncoming traffic, but screamed if I tried to get him to walk barefoot in the grass. There were plenty of other challenges, but really, who's keeping count? He gives back more love and affection than he's ever been trouble.
He tells us, "Four is my favorite number because that's when I got my memories."
B— has accelerated mental acuity in numbers, spacial reasoning, and also empathy. He is ahead of his class in Math, and tackles geometric problems for fun. On top of autism, B— struggles with ADHD and battles tics associated with a diagnosis of Tourettes. But although he is hyper aware of his symptoms, B— is determined to have courage and be kind to everyone, even when he knows others might judge him unfairly.
Someday, B— plans to establish the E-Company. "E," he tells us, "is for everything."
E-Company—which he hopes to locate in New York because B— loves the Statue of Liberty, and because his company will need more employees than are available in small cities—will make anything and everything that might make life easier for the people B— cares about. I don't know anyone B— doesn't care about. He's been at work on designs for his company since he was four, drawing complex geometric layouts that take into account all dimensions of his intended inventions.
B— dreams of creating robots.
Last night, I took B— to see Big Hero 6 while Mr. PNU, whom B— calls "daddy", graded Ethics essays. My son and I sat on the back row of the dollar theater, where he clicked, kissed, and squinted his way through the movie, sometimes curled up next to me sharing the popcorn, sometimes kneeling up on the seat, bouncing up and down when the action climaxed, sometimes wrapping his arms around me, crying along through the tear-jerk scenes. He loved the film. I asked him about his favorite character.
"Baymax 2.0!" B— declared. "And I want to go to a school like Hiro so I can design robots for E-Company."
I told B— that if he keeps up the good work in math and science, that just might happen. Watch for it. E-Company.