Alphabet Soup,Challenge-Journey

I’m taking part in the Alphabet Soup Challenge. You can learn more about how you can participate here. Yesterday, I went on a wonderful adventure with a former student of mine. Stephen is 31 now but I supported him when he was in high school. Stephen has autism but it doesn’t have him. He’s just a delight and we spent the afternoon together yesterday.

It all started when Stephen asked for someone to take him to a cattle auction on his Facebook wall. Stephen lives with his mom and grandmother and doesn’t really have the opportunity to get out much. All his friends are busy with their own adult lives. I looked into cattle auctions. Stephen is fascinated by cows. It’s one of his passions. In fact he was so enthusiastic about cows that he connected with a woman in Missouri who left him two cows in her will. They were shipped up to Canada and boarded near his home. We tried to get him a co-op placement at a farm but it turned out, that although he knows everything about cows, he was actually afraid of them. There are no cattle actions around here but I know of a farm where our students go horseback riding so I offered to take him there.

We spent a couple of hours at the farm and took a hay wagon ride. The cows came right up to the wagon and Stephen pet them. He didn’t seem afraid of them. He likes kittens too and as soon as we got there a little kitten came up to him. He cuddled her for a few minutes. He seemed to enjoy the day but he was really more interested to see another “ranch” that his grandmother takes him to to get wild mushrooms. This property is not too far from where I live so we went on a journey.

Stephen is very smart. He told me he wants to be a genius so he’s been studying calculus and physics. He has an amazing memory. He’s great with directions too and navigated the way to this property where he says he goes every fall with his grandmother. He took me to see some other houses along the way that had belonged to other relatives. It was a real trip down memory lane for him and I enjoyed it too. When we came to a sandy road, I was hesitant to continue. He assured me it was a “good road” and I trusted him. I’m so happy I did. He said we could walk through a forest. It was a country road and it was lovely. He was familiar with all the paths and we just got back to the car as it started raining. Perfect timing! 

As I drove him home in a torrential downpour I reflected on what a great journey he took me on. When we got to his house he looked me straight in the eyes. Looking into someone’s eyes is very challenging for autistic people so I understood how difficult this simple gesture was for him. He thanked me very much for a lovely day. Next time I take him, I think we’ll just skip the farm and go on another adventure. That was the best part of the day.

Stephen loves kittens and one came right up to him
He enjoyed chasing the ducks
He was brave and pet several cows

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