No Recovery but Progress

September 24, 2014

Yesterday, Robert and I went to the Zoo in Providence. We came later in the day. A couple of hours before closing. No crowds! Nice weather for a walk! And surprisingly more to see than in the summer. Those animals which don’t like hot weather and usually hide from the view in shady places, yesterday showed themselves to us. Red wolf and two snow leopards. Grey kangaroos, in the Outback section of the Zoo, which usually sleep far away from the people’s path, jumped rather closely to us. Robert took notice and walked half a step behind me. I suspect, he wasn’t thrilled by the freedom those animals enjoyed and would rather see them behind glass or at least on leashes. But he said nothing.
He also didn’t show any disappointment that the watermelon frozen lemonade wasn’t there, although he expects this treat in the Zoo the same way he expects elephants or zebras.
I like visiting zoo mainly because it is the place which reminds me over and over again, how much progress Robert made in the years that have passed since our first trip almost 19 years ago.
No, Robert didn’t recover. He is not able to visit the zoo on his own, or drive himself there. He cannot say that zoos are for children and not for 22 years old young men. No, Robert hasn’t recovered from autism.
BUT!
He doesn’t have tantrums in the middle of the paths, because he wants something we cannot understand.
He can write what he wants if his words come out scrambled beyond recognition.
He looks at the map of the zoo and shows or tells me where he wants to go first.
He follows me flexibly when I decide to change the route.
He knows the names of most of the animals.
He reads some of the information presented next to animals’ enclosures.
He is relaxed and so am I.
That is not a recovery, but it is enough to enjoy the day.

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