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Posted by Sally on July 11, 2000 at 20:24:14:

This summer, I am working at a school for the disabled gaining field experience for college next year where I will be learning how to teach these amazing kids. In my class is a pair of identical twin boys, severely autistic. What is so strange is that they are unbelievably verbal - only between themselves of course, and only in their language that I can't begin to make sense of. Like many autistic kids, they stimulate by the use of patterns, legos in this case. During their free time, the boys communicate elaborate lego patterns with each other, not just elaborate in the color and size patterns, but also in which one is to touch which blocks. One day, I tried to join them, and was allowed IF I followed their pattern perfectly but they took all the blocks away from me if I placed even one lego out-of-order. Other than that, they pay no attention to the people around them, but remain engrossed in their own world. At the school, I've seen some kids bite their own arms when frustrated. When the twins get frustrated, for instance when they are called into "circle time" before their lego masterpiece is painstakingly created, one will hold out his arm to the other and the other will bite it. It's like there is no place where one twin begins and the other ends. With the twins, a few things come to mind about Autism. First, that so many autistic kids are mute and these two have a complicated language between themselves says something. The implication is that language is there, just not our language. Secondly, that Autism is based on nature, because without the need to be "individuals," the boys are indistinguishable in mannerisms, reactions, and learning abilities as well as the more physical things like allergies. I'm happy that they understand each other and that they communicate. I'm so happy to be working with them a possibly learning more about the disorder. Any feedback, revelations, ideas would be welcome! Thanks, Sally

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