Talk About Patience!

Parenting an autistic kid is one thing. We have a lot of skin in the game and will go through a lot of grief in the hopes of achieving some greater goal. In an ideal world, all kids would get that extra effort from their parents, teachers, aides, heck, even strangers can go beyond the call. It doesn’t always happen; we all know that.

I stumbled upon Nate’s English Journal from tenth grade. Every Friday, he’d jot down at least three paragraphs. One had to cover something he learned at school, another had to discuss what he was reading and the third could be about anything.

It’s a revealing piece, and a great primary source. After reading through his old-school, handwritten, blog-like posts, I was hit by the amazing steadiness of Nate’s teachers at Cooperstown High School. They stuck with him at all times and, in June 2009, he graduated. Here are a few thing they put up with from 2006-2007.

10/12/2006

At school, I went into Mr. Knauth’s room, but he told me to get out of his classroom. I wasn’t supposed to be in here, because math is my 1st period, but it’s also my home room. I had to wait in the hall for Mrs. Weir (Nate’s long time aide), but I stayed in and said if he tells me to stop, I would kill him. After that, I was sent to the principal’s office. I learned not to be bad at school.

10/18/2006

This week I learned the rules of dodgeball in the gym. The rules included throwing the ball at somebody else. Then, if the person catches it, the thrower is out. If the person doesnt’ catch it, he’s out. I tried to do my best at dodgeball, and it worked out well. Here’s a funny story. Yesterday in gym during dodgeball, I took a skateboard and threw a ball at the gym teacher, but he was angry at me and didn’t think it was funny.

12/14/2006

This week, I went to gym and learned how to kick the ball. I kicked the ball, but kicked other students’ legs. I was told not to do that anymore.

12/21/2006

Today, I went to gym and played badminton. In one round, I hit the birdie high, but it was stuck on the ceiling. I had to get another one, and it was funny. I decided to hit the birdie on something else, including the gym teacher.

4/26/2007

Yesterday, I went to math class and did my work. Ms Weir told me to stop mumbling, but I yelled loudly, and I was sent to the office. I’m not allowed to do that anywhere, except at home.

Roaring Spring Tape Bound Composition Notebook

True enough, Nate can always get away with wilder behavior at home than at school. It’s good to know that even when he lost it in class, his support team didn’t give up on him. They deserve much credit for his success.

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About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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