Yard Sale Find Teaches Autistic Boy Spelling And Math - KMSP-TV

Yard Sale Find Teaches Autistic Boy Spelling And Math

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A 2-year-old boy has quite the love for letters and numbers, but like many children with severe autism, he is not able to speak.

As Fox 29's Karen Hepp tells us, what his parents thought was a fun new toy, turned out to be a life changer.

It’s just a play mat picked up at a yard sale, but Rylan's grandmother knew he would enjoy the mat because of his love for numbers and letters.

Rylan’s mother, Tasha Kirksey, started saying letters aloud when he pointed to them, and realized the 2-year-old was spelling out words.

Tasha says she had never even worked with him on spelling.

"We had no idea he could really even spell until he started. And every day there was four new words a day,” she said

It’s not only words, but addition.

Rylan pats his leg to show the plus sign. Tasha says he also started doing subtraction.

Rylan, who has never said a single word, found a way of communicating with his family.

"That's what every parent thinks of when they're pregnant. What's their first word going to be? They think about all these things,” said Tasha. “When it doesn't happen, it’s devastating. To know that I’m finally going to be able to communicate with him, it's awesome. I can't wait.”

Tasha says she knew Rylan was different by the time he was 1 years old.

He was diagnosed with severe low functioning autism at age two.

The mat shows his intelligence and has unlocked a little of what is going on in his mind.

“Just one minute is all I want in that head. Just one minute to see the world through his eyes,” said Tasha.

Tasha says she will continue to work with Rylan and the mat, hoping he can use it to communicate his needs and wants.

And now that she has a better understanding of his intelligence, it has opened up a closer bond between mother and son.

“He’s taught me more than I could ever teach him. Patience, understanding and just love,” said Tasha. “He's amazing to me. I can't wait to see what the future holds next. What does he do next?”

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