Jackson competed two weeks ago in our city’s Japanese language contest and WON FIRST PLACE for the THIRD YEAR IN A ROW!
I marvel at how much progress he has made from the first to the third year in his ability to wait, his ability to not walk in and out of the room and his ability to compete without meltdowns.
There is nothing about competing in a Japanese language contest that lends itself to autism. It’s very hard to stay quiet and allow other students to also recite their poems. Each year, I’m just happy that he can manage to stand up in front of a room full of parents, teachers and other students wearing his favorite kimono.
We really hope that Jackson can one day find a job. If Jackson didn’t have autism, it would seem obvious that a teenager that could master Japanese would have a bright future. However, 80-90 percent of autistic adults are unemployed, despite their intellect. So, this sobering statistic keeps me, his mom, moving forward always looking for opportunities for him to sparkle and shine with his unique gifts. I am trying to carve a path forward for Jackson to have a life using the gifts that he loves–languages, art, and math.