Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin.
That kid is weird (he’s in SPED, you know). He blinks his eyes, sometimes one at a time. Sometimes both together. They open and close, open and close, letting the light in, shutting it out. The world blinks on and off.
And he flaps his hands, like when he is excited, or just before he is going to say something, or when he is thinking. He does that the most when he is on the computer or reading a book. When his mind is focused on the words, it separates from his body, his body that almost becomes a burden, a weight.
Only his fingers don’t stand still while they wait. They flap at the ends of his hands, at the ends of his wrists.
Like insects stuck on a string, stuck on a net. Like maybe they want to fly away. Maybe he does too.
In first grade they put a thick, purple rubber band across the bottom bar of his desk chair, so Jason would have something to jiggle with his feet when he was supposed to be sitting still. In second grade Matthew Iverson sent around a note saying, If you think Jason Black is a retard, sign this, and Matthew got sent to the principal’s office, which only made things worse for Jason.
In the third grade Jason was diagnosed with ASD, autistic spectrum disorder. But his mother will never use that term. She prefers three different letters: NLD, nonverbal learning disorder. Or these letters: PDD-NOS, pervasive developmental disorder- non-specific. When letters are put together, they can mean so much, and they can mean nothing at all.