I have a student with Asperger’s. It is my second year in a row of serving him as his English teacher. Asperger’s “is characterized by difficulties in social interaction and restricted, stereotyped patterns of behavior and interests. Although not mentioned in standard diagnostic criteria for AS, physical clumsiness and atypical use of language are frequently reported.” This description describes my student exactly in surface details, and not at all in what is important. My student lives in a black and white world but has learned and been liberated by the shades of gray found in literature. He is devoutly religious in a very humble, non-intrusive way. He has a wicked sense of humor and delights in word play and has a list of interests that can only be described as ‘eclectic’ not limited.. He is ‘special’ in a very ‘special’ way and I look forward to seeing him each day.
I have lately been reading endless attempts to define and quantify the elusive concept of ‘grace’ and its place in our lives. I wish these authors had met my student. One definition of grace is ‘an unmerited gift from God’ and there is truth and depth in this definition. My student is a manifestation of grace for me and an endless source of wonder.