Clinton, who moved into site 3706 in November 2012, is the typical southern gentleman. You will often find him sporting the classic pearl snap shirts and camouflage ball cap. Hunting, fishing, farm life, family and trucks are some of Clinton’s favorite things. Another part of his classic southern gentleman demeanor is Clinton’s quietness.
When I first met Clinton, who has Autism, he did not have much to say. Matter of fact, he didn’t say anything at all. I worked at the site for 3 weeks before Clinton spoke one word to me. There were many silent car rides and questions I asked that were returned with silence.
I came to realize that Clinton, by nature, is an observer. He feels uncomfortable around people who he does not know well, but after he has had time to see how an individual operates and understand their likes and dislikes, it’s an entirely different story. For example, when Clinton first moved into his apartment, interactions with his roommate were limited. He would watch television alone or sit in his room reading magazines, and his roommate was content with reading alone or standing on the porch listening to music.
However, this did not last for long. One evening, Kendall Schler, Teacher Counselor at 3706, entered their apartment to find a very different scene.
Clinton and his roommate were standing on the porch, both with a guitar in hand, cowboy hat on and microphone. As if this sight weren’t enough, they were also singing along with the music playing from the radio. Though this was once out of the ordinary, it has become a nightly occurrence. Now, both of them can often be found practicing their fishing casts off the back porch, sifting through magazines together, watching The Voice or playing computer games.
Clinton has made great strides in communication during the time he has been living at the site. When I pick him up from ACT, there’s no longer silence, but he asks questions about my day or weekend, offers up information about his weekend endeavors and asks to turn up the country station, so we can sing.
Clinton regularly interacts with his roommate and staff. Some would not see these as great accomplishments, but for the staff at 3706 these are celebrated achievements.
Clinton is currently training to understand money and its value; he is also training to take his medications independently. In the past, when training on these things, he often sat, without response, when staff would ask him questions. However, he now answers the questions and is making progress in both areas.
If you ever get to meet this southern gentleman, take the time to get to know him. He will share his stories about farm life and his many hunting trips. If you spend enough time with him, he may even pull a joke or two on you. Clinton is a mystery, but no good story goes without one.