Painting Boy

Let me tell you a beautiful story about one of my boys.

I’ve often said that I’m certain John is reading. He knows his colors, he knows his animals, he knows the alphabet. How much is memorization, how much is actual reading? With a twin who started reading at two, aren’t the odds in his favor?

When the phone rang last week, the school’s phone number flashing on the caller id, I sighed. Is he sick? Did he fall? What did I forget to pack today? Instead John’s teacher’s voice was breathless. “I had to call,” she said, “I am too excited.”

You know how sometimes if you’re really still, you swear you can hear your heart beat in your chest but then realize you’ve stopped breathing?

“I know we’ve talked about whether John can read or not — he does know a lot of sight words,” she said, pausing. “I just gave him a book that he had never seen before and I said ‘Read book?’ Kal, he read that whole book to me.”

Oh. My. Boy. I am both shocked and nonplussed. I knew it all along, I think. Lately, though, he is fascinated with books in a new way. I catch him flipping pages and muttering words. He sometimes prefers books to his itouch. He even prefers them to lining up blocks on the counter these days. Wow, he is growing up, I think.

He favors books from the Baby Einstein library: My Favorite Colors, Numbers, Poetry. He was enthralled with Baby Van Gogh and that has translated to being enthralled with the real Van Gogh — an obsession going on two years. He has carried around pictures of Starry Starry Night for some time, but now he wants to read books about him and now studies his less famous works: Sunflowers, Boats on the Beach, Irises. He asks me to draw them on index cards then demands tape to hang them on the wall. He jumps in front of them, happy.


Leave a comment
  • So cool! I hadn’t realized how close the parallels are with Primo (reading at 3) and Secondo. We saw Secondo reading a book on his own for the first time recently. It’s weird having kids on the spectrum. The source of so much hope, so much fear. Rolled up in such an unbelievably cuddly package.

    Happy Holidays.


  • wowowowowowowow!!!!!!!!!!

    i’m so happy for you and for john. so happy that he enjoys books. indeed he is a magnificent boy — remember that post you wrote and all the “measurements” of the neuropsych eval? well, your boy is reading and learning and loving it. makes me smile!

    mwah back.

  • Wow. This is amazing. I just recently found your blog and I’m already excited about things. My boys (25 months) were just diagnosed about 2 weeks ago with autism. It’s all going kind of fast and of course we’re cautiously googling between appointments and evaluations. I’m glad I found you (I love my blogging friendss)- I think I’ll probably stick around.

    Erin (

  • Last year the same thing happened with my now seven year old! I suspected he could read and then he began reading at school.

    It’s so exciting, isn’t it? 😀

  • I found your blog this morning. I’m a father of two identical twin boys who will turn three later this month. They’ve been in speech therapy since they were about 20 months old. Both are talking (one more so than the other) but both are doing a lot of echolalia and “scripting”.

    We JUST received a diagnosis yesterday on one of our twins that he is on the autism spectrum. The other one will be tested next month and I suspect that he will be as well.

    I’m at work right now and unfortunately unable to sit down and read your whole blog start to finish – I fully intend to. But this entry (with the story of your teacher calling to tell you how your son read a new book) made a grown man cry (but secretly, at his desk).



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