Doing Our Bit For Autism Training

I always wonder, every time I get an email from the research programs at the Autism Center, if they will get tired of always seeing the boys do these demonstrations.  Well, apparently the answer is “no,” because we keep getting callbacks to participate.

This time, both Tad and Thumper were asked to participate in an ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) seminar.  Both boys have done this before, but this time, it would be in a full lecture hall.  Thumper did the lecture hall once before, when he was about 2 and a half.  But Tad would be running through the teen version of the test, and Thumper the young child version of the test, in front of a crowd of about 90, all taking notes on how to administer this test.  The ADOS is one of the primary standardized autism assessment tests available, and seeing a demonstration with a child on the spectrum obviously aides those learning how to administer and score the test.

Tad was a little more nervous than I thought he would be (a whole college lecture hall of people staring and taking notes on you?  Yeah, it can be a bit much), but he did well.  Thumper went in front of the crowd the next day, mic on, and ready to rock.

While I only peeked in briefly on Tad (I didn’t want to make him more nervous than he was, and having Mom watch him might have taken his attention off the doctor working with him), I was sitting up front while Thumper was doing the ADOS.  And when I say “up front,” I mean I was sitting in the fishbowl, too.  I was right off to the side, where everyone could see me.  And I had to jump in a few times because Thumper was mic’ed up, and the battery pack kept coming unclipped from his jeans waistband (it was on the heavy side).

Thumper also hilariously realized that he was being video-projected up on the wall so that the people in the back row could see, and decided to find out where the camera was… so he got right in front of the laptop camera that was doing the projecting and grinned at himself – causing several giggles – and showed off the eyelashes to everyone.  He also momentarily thought about hijacking the laptop to get on YouTube, but was thwarted by both me and the tech guy.

So, the boys gave back to science this week.  We keep on doing our part to help out the place that has given us so much help and hope.

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