It has all of the makings of a truly remarkable fantasy story: a brave knight who overcomes enormous obstacles, a beautiful and kind-hearted queen, and a hulking yellow dragon (which to the untrained eye may resemble a school bus for the Fayette Progressive School).
Our story begins with a brave knight named Arthur who was given quite an intimidating obstacle to overcome: Arthur was diagnosed on the autism spectrum as a completely nonverbal 2-year-old. His journey has taken quite a lot of unexpected turns. There have been mighty triumphs as well as battles left for another day, but through it all, Arthur has maintained the indomitable heart of a king.
When he first met Alice Berryman (Queen Alice as he calls her) last fall, he was just beginning to overcome his first and greatest obstacle: he was learning to speak. The warmth and kindness that Alice showed to Arthur each time she brought him to and from school made a lasting impression. He soon began making leaps in his ability to communicate, and one thing that could always be counted on was the mention of Queen Alice at every available opportunity.
Along with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Arthur has something a bit less common. It’s called Hyperlexia, and in fantastical metaphors it could be likened to his version of Excalibur. Hyperlexia is an untaught ability to read at advanced levels prior to being formally taught. He can read almost anything he sees, spell words that I sometimes have to double-check, and write out his thoughts in an articulate manner.
Before Arthur turned 3, he was busy writing out love letters to Alice on his chalkboard at home. We made sure to tell Alice what a profound impact she was having on our son, and she seemed just as delighted by his progress as we were.
Arthur has remained true to his first love since their fateful meeting, and Alice takes all of his romantic overtures in stride as she continues to nurture and encourage his growth with kindness, empathy, and a quiet wisdom only possessed by true queens. I am so thankful for all of the kind souls from the Fayette Progressive school who have made such a profound impact on my son and I am especially grateful to Queen Alice who, I suspect, will always have a special place in the heart of King Arthur.
For more information about Early Intervention, Fayette Progressive School, or any of the other programs provided by Fayette County Board of DD, please call 740-335-7453, visit www.fayettedd.com or www.facebook.com/fayettecountydd.