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The Calendar Maestro: Embracing a Young Man Whose Skills Shine Bright
Meet the calendar maestro – a former student I recently saw at my book signing event. He possesses an extraordinary ability to recall calendar events with impeccable precision. I haven’t seen him since I retired, and I wanted to test it out, so I asked him what day of the week it would be on November 17th, 2025. I could see the gears moving in his mind, and he quickly said, “It will be on a Monday. It is Mrs. Laneville’s birthday.” He was correct, and I marveled at his genius-level memory for dates and events.
He is one of the many students in my book, and I felt privileged to be his teacher in middle school. That is the time in most students’ lives when hormones come into play as they mature. I was happy that he was a triplet and that his brother and sister, both neurotypical, could offer insights as he navigated this stage of life. Often kids on the spectrum have difficulty expressing feelings, so it is a time of learning and growing with explicit instructions on how to express emotions appropriately.
Read his mother’s responses to my questions. She possesses a deep understanding of her son, wholeheartedly embracing him.
Q: What is one thing you wish teachers know about your child that is not on the IEP?
A: That inside they are very caring individuals who want to please their teachers by accomplishing what they are asking of them. The tantrums that sometimes result are hard on them as well but sometimes that’s all they can do to express frustration.
Q: Scores on tests do not define the child. What is something your child is really good at that is not reflected on tests?
A: Knowing the calendar days of the week in any date past or future even hundreds of years from the present. Also being able to remember what we did or ate on a specific date in the past or where/when we were on vacation – perfect recall.
Q: How important is homework for your child? Is it just a burden, or is it a helpful learning tool?
A: I think the repetition of reviewing the same material over time does help them to absorb the information.
Q: How old was your child when you first knew he/she had special needs?
A: Two years, 3 months.
Q: What is one piece of advice you have for someone who has a newly diagnosed child?
A: Get to work right away learning all you can about the diagnosis and the treatments/therapies available. The earlier the treatment begins, the better off your child will be in the long run. Do not ignore it!
Q: What is one meal that everyone in your family likes to eat?
Q: What advice do you have for interacting with children with special needs?
A: Try to act as normally as you would with anyone else keeping in mind any communication issues involved.
Q: What activities do you recommend to other parents to foster self-care?
A: Have set times for childcare so you can go for a walk, or the salon, or even the grocery store.
Q: Are there any support groups that you recommend for parents or children?
A: I would recommend seeking out a support group whose parents share the same diagnosis as your child.
Q: What are your favorite family activities?
A: Going to the theater, church, library, going on walks, playing baseball in the backyard, watching movies.