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A Joey Story

1 Oct

A Joey Story

Jude 1:22, “And of some have compassion, making a difference.”

This is one of my “Joey stories” about our son, age 20 with Asperger’s syndrome (high functioning autism). It comes from when he was 16 years old and I was fighting breast cancer. We enrolled him in a private school (from homeschooling) so I could take a year off to be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, and to heal. Here it is:

The principal thing I have noticed over the years about Joey is that he looks at the world in an “inside out” way from the rest of us. It’s not wrong, just different.

Sometimes I find Joey’s way of looking at the world utterly breathtaking.

Joey has had his challenges, as do we all, but he defies many of the odds for autism. A recent one was the supposed “lack of empathy” that people claim characterizes autism.

Joey is in a school small enough (less than 20) that the kids draw names for the Christmas party. After first thinking that drawing names had something to do with art (and being afraid to ask because he is a big tough teen boy, after all, hee hee!), he finally figured out he had drawn Moriah, a 12-year-old girl whom he describes as “too young to be a girlfriend but a really good friend.”

They then were awarded their “merit points” (the opposite of “demerits”) for the semester and were allowed to purchase gifts for themselves from a merit points store.

Joey didn’t realize I was already out shopping for Moriah’s gift so he used some of his merit points to get Moriah a gift that he put under the Christmas tree for her!

I think this was his own idea and it was so sweet it made me cry! He was so excited thinking he had gotten something she would really like. And I was so excited to see him being able to fully enter into someone else’s world like that.

I got her a bracelet from him, too, as I remember getting jewelry from my first crush in sixth grade (when we drew names for gifts) and how special it made me feel (my friend’s mother probably bought it, like I did . . .).

So we had a very happy young girl who became Joey’s loyal friend at that school. So sweet.

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