Spelling Bee Victory

By Preeti Chojar, ASAT Board Member

RaviIn the spelling bee, when the first word my son was asked to spell was ”girls,” which happens to be his all time favorite word, we knew we were off to a good start. The second word was “slow.” At first he didn’t hear it. He was standing around when everyone was waiting. I told everyone within hearing distance that he was demonstrating the word. Sometimes humor can lighten an awkward situation.

I still remember the first year when the school was questioning whether Ravi could participate in the spelling bee. He could spell very well but couldn’t pronounce the letters clearly. I asked them if they would allow him to write the words. The vice-principal agreed and they allowed him and all other students to write the words.

Fortunately, that simple accommodation led to several other students’ participation.

In the second year, helping him remain on stage was very difficult. After spelling his word he came down from the stage and attempt to go to his math class, despite my telling him that the entire school was attending the spelling bee: teachers, aides and classmates. I reminded him to get back to the stage and spell more words. This continued for every round. Everyone must have been staring at us but it didn’t matter as he eventually learned our expectations. He won third place that year.

Ravi & PreetiThis year was his fifth year participating and he no longer needed to write the words out. He could now say the letters. When he was given the word ”extinguisher,” even the judges encouraged him to write it. But he refused and spelled it correctly, vocally. In fact, he refused to write any words with one exception.

He was stumped on the word “muscles.” He spelled it “musles” but then immediately corrected himself, with no prompting from anyone. The judges didn’t accept it. He repeated it but they didn’t accept it. He then even wrote it, but still they wouldn’t accept it. He did try. Persistence usually pays off.

Ravi came in second place this year. On a basic level, I celebrate my son for being able to sit on stage with no hands over his ears; being flexible about his schedule; being aware when his name was called, going up to the microphone, spelling the word and then repeating it if asked, without assistance. On a higher level, I celebrate him for being aware that it was a competition and for wanting to win. He is a winner in my mind and an inspiration for all.

Preeti is the mom of Ravi, an 11th grade student at Rock Terrace, Rockville, MD

Please use the following format to cite this article:

Chojar, P. (2014). Spelling Bee Victory. Science in Autism Treatment, 11(3), 16.

Send this to a friend