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CJ Heck

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I am Matty, I am ME
by CJ Heck

Monday, September 11, 2006
Rated "G" by the Author.
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Recent poems by CJ Heck
•  Blankies (Preschool)
•  Bumble Bee (Preschool)
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           >> View all 232

For my grandson, Matthew Welch.

I would like to share someone very special with you. His name is Matthew and he's my grandson. Matthew is also autistic. Matty's dad is a Marine. They live at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, where he was diagnosed much earlier than the state of North Carolina allows, because my daughter, Heather, pushed and insisted. She knew something was wrong because Matthew wasn't progressing like his older brother had.

Once Matty was diagnosed, doctors told my daughter that Matty was severely autistic -- he may never learn to talk. After the initial shock and the grief of acceptance, Heather took that as a personal challenge because she loved Matty. She taught him to sign.

As a direct result of her unwavering love and by both signing and speaking everything with Matthew, my daughter eventually broke through his autistic barrier. He suddenly understood the connection between sign and words, and Matthew began talking in full sentences. I'm so proud of Heather for her love and strength. She's an inspiration to everyone ...

I am Matty, I am ME
by CJ Heck (Grammy CJ)

Iíve got this thing called autism
that can lock you up inside
but I am me, Iím Matty,
and Iím learning not to hide.

The state was slow to test me.
Mommy made them walk the line.
They said I might not talk
so mommy taught me how to sign.

Thereís nothing slow about me.
Everywhere I go, I run.
Iím always on my tiptoes,
and I flap my arms when I have fun.

I love climbing and pretending,
I know movies word for word,
and now that I have learned to talk,
I repeat things till Iím heard.

Iím just like any other boy
in many, many ways,
but I like things to stay the same
so I wonít melt down today.

I have this thing called autism,
but I am Matty. I am ME.
Iíve unlocked my world inside
Ďcause my mommy held the key.

Note: Now, nearly six years since this poem was written, I am proud to say, Matthew is among the students at the very top of his class and in a normal school setting. He's a wonderful little boy, with a delightful sense of humor and a loving and affectionate disposition. Matty is both outgoing and outspoken and he's totally fearless. When I asked him what he wants to be when he grows up, here is how he answered:

"I'm going to be a scientist. I'm going to invent a new rocket fuel for space travel and I'll have lots of cats and dogs in my laboratory to keep me company ..."

I love you, Matty-Man.
Grammy CJ

Barking Spiders Poetry for Children
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Reviewed by Rusty Daily 11/14/2006
It is sometimes difficult to write an effective poem about someone you love so dearly, but you have managed it quite well CJ. I'm sure Matty would glow when read this poem by gramma.
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 9/15/2006
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww...this is beautiful. Well done!

(((HUGS))) to you and little Matty.

Love, Karla.
Reviewed by Felix Perry 9/11/2006
Right on. Great write and good lesson out of someone who knows. See my short story...Ju-Julia


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