I am Joshua, a 14 year old teenager, who has overcome and recovered from ASD by God’s grace. Ever since my recovery, I have forgotten much about what had happened in those 9 years of having autism, but I remember these things.
When I was in kindergarten, I hated attending events or performances because they disrupted the peaceful daily routines that I had constructed. Even now, when I try to evoke memories of those events, I get a bad taste in my mouth. In kindergarten, I didn’t care about anything except for the toys that we were allowed to play with after finishing our assignments. The simplicity of the assignments allowed me to go and play very frequently. However, I had an obsession with dinosaurs and that was the only thing I played. Others who tried to play dinosaurs too would have to deal with me. I didn’t like sharing. Only in the later parts of the year would I consent to playing with cars and letting others play with the dinosaurs
Have you watched the movie Inside Out? In the movie, memories are represented by these tiny spherical objects that store “records” of events that had happened to the being in question. The emotions being felt at the moment can affect the memory. If lets say the person feels angry that his brother broke his toy, the memory will have a red glow; a bright yellowish glow for happiness and etc. However, my memories of last time have no etc, no emotional complexity. If you ask me to colour code them, they are either white: happy; or red: angry/scared/embarrassed/frustrated/etc.
This is the happy part of the article; the climax; the part more worth reading. My father says that there are 4 factors that contribute to my recovery.
When I was 5, my turbulent childhood calmed when I enrolled in Capstone Kindergarten, a Christian school. The teachers there were surprisingly patient and caring, unlike other schools I had been in. When I was in a bad mood and my rigidity and obsessions reached their peaks, they leave me be to cool down, instead of probing and yelling at me, which would have made matters worse. At the end of 2 years in kindergarten, I actually put down the dinosaurs so I could play with cars instead. This contributed 40%, a kickstart that gave me a boost.
My therapist did RDI with me when I just joined Capstone Kindergarten. I would go to a therapy centre every Wednesday, do some stuff with the therapist like playing with some spongey balls or answering questions about how I feel, the boring part, and then I will go and play with the jigsaws and read the books until my mum decides to bring me home. I remember hoping for my mum to keep talking to the therapist so I can play longer. I don’t really remember exactly what I did in therapy but the therapy and Capstone Kindergarten worked hand in hand to boost my recovery.
This contributed 30% to my recovery.
When I was 7, I was sent to mainstream school because my psychological report showed no observable sign of autism. However, mainstream was still tough and without my teachers, I probably would not make it through. Even though I could handle mild changes, I still struggled when taking part in new activities that actively engaged me. I was still not comfortable talking to strangers. Before Oral Exams, my mum had to give me a lot of prep talk so I could gain the courage to go into the examination hall. On the way to the examiner, I lost my nerve and broke down. My form teacher took me out for a half hour walk so I could regain my nerve and step inside the hall again. If not for the patience of my teachers, I would not have gotten full marks for my oral exams. From that year onwards, I changed at a miraculous rate, trying 5 types of new food for the mother tongue cultural education in Primary 2. When I was 9 years old, I made my first best friends, who have supported me all the way through my Primary school years and still keep in touch with me to this day. This contributed 30% to my recovery.
The last factor is the most sensitive but most important factor behind my recovery. I thank my God for miraculously healing me. 1 year before I enrolled in Capstone, the place had just been built and it was too dusty for me. 1 year after I graduated, all the teachers that cared for me had left the kindergarten. In that period, my therapist started doing RDI. The timing that these 2 events occurred is miraculous. In Primary school, I had great teachers that had been placed there by God. This factor contributes 100% to my recovery. Without God, the other factors would have been useless.
Contributed by Joshua