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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kindness of Strangers

I don't know if most of you are aware of this, but my son was diagnosed with autism at about two and a half.  Back then he couldn't talk at all.  He would stand in the middle of the room and screech.  He couldn't even point at what he wanted. Frustrating for everyone.

Fast forward 4 years and we have a very different boy on our hands.  He  'graduated' from his speech therapy last year because he met all his goals. He talks nonstop, but is still not what I would consider conversational.  However, he has a brilliant mind with a memory unlike any I've ever seen.  If he weren't my son, I wouldn't believe it.  Above all, he is a blessing and a joy.

He is not without challenges, though.  He'll be in 2nd grade this year.  He is main-streamed most of the time.  He has an assistant who whisks him out of the room when he needs a break or a melt down is imminent.  The school system here is WONDERFUL and thanks to all their hard work, I have my son back.  I am so grateful for all they have done.

One of his particular challenges is writing.  You can barely read it, and he HATES writing anything.  They bent the rules as much as they could last year allowing him to type on the computer or write the first sentence and dictate the rest.  Some days getting him to even pick up a pen/crayon/marker was impossible.

And then a few weeks ago, something magical happened.

He discovered his MagnaDoodle.  He's had it for years, but suddenly started using it.  This morning he wrote something, chased me down in the kitchen and says, "Mommy, this is for you." He turned it around and it said, "I love you"  can you feel my heart melting?

He's made up a game with the board, and I'm the only one he allows to play it.
I describe a family, and he draws them.
Then I describe their house, and he draws that.  Last night I told him they lived in a warehouse and he got MAD.  Told me it had to be residential.  (Do normal seven year olds say residential?  I've lost touch with reality where he is concerned)

I wanted this to carry over to school so his teachers who have done sooo much already could share in his new joy.  I thought about buying a new MagnaDoodle just for school, but thought it would be so much better if I could find an electronic one that would let his teachers save/print his work.

The dream was born.

I looked online, and found a company that had a huge array of scratchpads (that's what I was calling them).  I sent an email to their customer service department telling them basically what I said above, that writing was a challenge and I wanted to expand on his Magnadoodle experience.  I asked which one of their products they would recommend.

And do you know what?

After several days I didn't get a reply, cynical me just wrote them off.  This is the age of giant corporations, greed and corruption, right?  I thought they were too big to answer a simple question, so screw them.

But then my faith was restored, wholly and completely.

And the ginormous corporation taught me a lesson.

It took several days, but I DID get a reply.  I almost didn't open it because it LOOKED like spam.  But you know that voice in your head?  The one that urges you to do (or not do) certain things?  It told me to open it. It said it was okay.  So I did.

And discovered this wonderful company was sending me a tablet for my son.



Look at this baby, isn't it awesome? 

I was in shock.  All I had wanted was a model number to research to see if I could afford such a thing.  And here complete and utter strangers were giving me a gift for my son.

I have to admit it made me cry.

And so, I want to let everyone know about the wonderful, generous nature of  the WACOM TECHNOLOGY CORPORATION.  If you are in the market for a product like this (I believe it will let you do your line edits online!), please check them out at

I am so blessed, I just had to share! 

Update:  My unplugged days are killing me.  I miss reading everyone's posts and I miss leaving my two cents across the blogosphere.  I hope to get my act together soon and start easing back in...I've been to the gym every day so far and I'm down a pound in these first 4 days.  

I've got a DOOZIE for Crackpot Confessional tomorrow.  If I win any of you over to "my" way of thinking, though, it'll be a miracle!

Thanks for all your positive thoughts &'s working!


aspiring_x said...

wow! i've heard that wacom tablets are amazing products, but this makes for an AMAZING COMPANY! lovely to hear (i'll have to tell my dad who does quite a bit of drawing via his wacom tablet). good to hear of your son's progress too! that is SUPER AWESOME!!!

Ted Cross said...

That is really amazing. I love companies that will do such things!

Nicole MacDonald said...

Fantastic! I really hope it helps your son - Oooh that's just soo exciting! Can you post a pic of one of his sketches when he gets it?

KarenG said...

What a wonderful post! This is really exciting for your son and heartwarming to know a company would do this. I wondered where you had been lately, bravo with the 4 lbs!

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

That is so amazing. I almost cried when I got to the bit where they are giving it you for free!

Plus, miss you too :)

Lenny said...

hi miss vicki! the i love you mommy got right down in my heart. youre a really good mom for doing so much to help get your son better. its sooo cool that company gave you a free tablet. sometimes you just get surprised by how nice people could be.
...hugs from lenny

Al said...

Wow what a great story!
My nephew (my brother's son) is about your little one's age and is autistic as well. He lives in the UK. It sounds like he too is really benefiting from some great support.
I used to work with autistic youths, and it is amazing what I have seen some of them achieve with a bit of the right support.

Mary said...

Vicki, so happy for your blessings. There is nothing as magical as "I love you" from a child.
That company is awesome and there are so few like that. I hope your son does well with his new tablet.
Congrats on this week's success -- all of them!

Jen said...

Wow! The world will surprise you when you least expect it and I can't say anything but damn isn't that nice? I love when you turn around and receive a blessing!! I think that's fantastic and how sweet of you to now plug them on your blog!

YOU ARE MISSED!!! But unplugging is necessary at times!

Mason Canyon said...

I thought the note from your son was amazing, but you also received an amazing surprise from the company. It's so wonderful in this day and age that a major company does something like this. It kind of renews your faith in mankind. Best of luck with the new pad. Looking forward to you returning soon.

Thoughts in Progress

Candyland said...

This is fantastic. IT's amazing what people are capable of. I think we always think the worst on others. I'm glad your son is doing better.

Wendy Ramer said...

Vicki, you are so lucky to have such a supportive school for your son. Unfortunately, I had to take my son out of public school after 1st grade b/c they couldn't/wouldn't provide the kind of patience and support your school seems to be giving. He's in a small private school now, which is probably the best I'll find in South Florida but still not my ideal.

As for WACOM, let me know how you like the pad when you get it. Maybe I'll get one too ;-)

Susan Fields said...

What a wonderful thing that company did - thanks for sharing your story! And I'm glad to hear that your son's found a way he likes to write.

I need to start exercising again - this happens to me every summer when the schedule gets tossed out the window and the extra weight never comes off. :(

Matthew Rush said...

That is freaking awesome. My daughter has been bugging me for a tablet mouse that will let her draw with a stylus when editing graphics on photoshop so if they have one that will do that I am going with this company, no question.

Jaydee Morgan said...

Stories like this remind you of the goodness of people - even corporations. Good for them to do something like this for your son.

Jolene said...

I have a special needs daughter and the awesomeness of the school system and the people we've met amazes me all the time.
Also I was a teacher and I had two autistic kids that really stuck with me, they had their moments but were SO much fun. Their brains work in such an incredible way. Anyways, it sounds like you two are on a good track.

Tahereh said...

what an incredible story. there's nothing more beautiful than seeing the power of kindness.

and we miss you too!


Dawn said...

Vicki, this is wonderful. My heart is melting with you as tears of happiness stream down my face. Wow. That's amazing.

Congrats on your loss :-D Hope to see you back SOON!

Sydnee said...

Okay, I admit to having no idea what a MagnaDoodle is. Just want to get that out of the way.

That is outstanding, and I'm so happy for you and your son. Wacom makes great products; I know you won't be disappointed. I've always liked the company but now I like them even more. ;) (and yes, I'm pretty sure only your amazingly intelligent seven year old uses residential in everyday conversation)

Guinevere said...

That is such a great story! If I'm ever in the market for a tablet, it'll definitely be from WACOM; I'm so happy the company did that for you.

Hope your son enjoys it and that it helps him develop his writing further!

Little Ms J said...

This is such a heartwarming story. I'm so glad your son has such a supportive group of teachers and I'm touched that the company was also so generous. Awesome....