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1.) Relating to people : 3.

Ezra has quite a hard time relating with other kids his age. This is why he seems to
relate more with animals. One example of Ezra showing his inability to relate with other
children is at his birthday party. At his own birthday party he hides in his room, reciting
Tigger from Winnie the Pooh. Also, Ezra has a difficult time making eye contact with
unknown adults. Also, I think Ezra has a hard time grasping certain concepts and
doesnt understand when certain topics are appropriate to discuss such as death.
2.) Imitation : 2.0
For a short time Ezra responds to every question hes asked by pretty much just
imitating the question. he answers every question by repeating a few words of the
question (Fields-Meyer 25). Ive noticed that Ezra doesnt think about what hes saying
when he imitates the words back, theres no thought process involved he just says it.
3. Emotional response : 2.5
Ocassionally Noam or Ami would knock a rhino or stegosaurus out of place or grab
one for their own play and elicit a fit of uncontrollable screaming from Ezra, who was
tortured at his precise formation being broken (Fields-Meyer 70). This is very common
for most children to get upset when their toys are knocked over, but since Ezra reacts so
intensely and reacts because of the mismatch in formation its different. Another strange
emotional reaction Ezra had was his fear of Toy Story. Tom said that there was no

reason Ezra should be scared of the movie because it wasnt even during a scary part.
Also, Ezra was real fixated on the life size Homer doll and when Tom wouldn't get it for
him he threw a huge tantrum.
4.) Body use : 2.5
Ezra is incautious when it comes to his body. Once when Ezra was climbing up a
cabinet to reach hidden cookies he wounded himself, and right after a trip to the ER he
seemed completely back to normal. This incident leads to his family learning something
new about their son. We learn later that therapists have their own way of saying that: he
lacks proprioception, the bodys sense of where it is in space in relation to other objects
and people. He doesnt know where his body is unless he is wrapped tightly, or feeling
intense physical pressure, or best of all in water (Fields-Meyer 32). Its hard for
Ezra to feel comfortable in his own body. For example, haircuts are one of Ezras
greatest discomforts. He needs everything explained to him before the barber touches
his hair or else he thinks the barber is going to cut his ear off or hurt him.
5.) Object use : 2.5
As a toddler before we truly grasped his differences he would haul around his
growing collection of animals and dinosaur figures to the brick back patio of our Los
Angeles home, spending long hours linking up the creatures in precise, symmetrical
patters as Shawn and I watched, feeling a combination of amazement and

bewilderment (Fields-Meyer 69). For children at such a young age this seems quite an
unusual action. He then uses toy reptiles as his security reptiles at age three. Ezra
cant go anywhere without these toys, For months, he goes everywhere the
playground, the bathtub clothing one alligator in each hand (Fields-Meyer 70). In the
3.0 description it lists that he/she may focus on one object to play with exclusively, like
the reptiles, or repetitively move an object, like the toy dinosaurs.
6.) Adaption to change : 2.5
Human beings can be unpredictable and scary, with their social rules and their subtle
facial expressions. But the giraffes dont ask questions, and the chimps dont care what
you say about them/ Ezra doesnt merely want to see animals; he wants to live in this
mannered world, with its patterns and structures and where there are no surprises
(Fields-Meyer 72). Tom understands that Ezra has anxiety and this is why he has to
have everything in order, with no unexpected events. From reading this book I can tell
Ezra doesnt like change at all. He likes having the same routine, especially when hes
at the zoo visiting all the animals. He has a specific order of which animals he sees first.
7.) Visual response : 3.0
One of Ezras biggest fears/challenges is making eye contact with others. He often
stares into space and avoids eye contact with others. Ezra doesnt look up, expect
occasionally, to check on the green dinosaur and make sure its not going to attack

(Fields-Meyer 55), this quote was from when Ezra first entered his classroom. When he
was younger and showed such a great lack of eye contact or response his parents
actually thought he could be Deaf. Another strange visual response Ezra has is his red
8.) Listening response : 2.5
At a very young age Ezra shows signs of autism by his lack of response. His preschool
teacher describes him as spacy, inflexible, autonomous, hard to get him to connect and
not very responsive. It takes a lot to get Ezras attention, thats why when his attention
disappears into a toy, show, etc they call his state of mind Planet Ezra. This is
extremely difficult for Shawn because shes an incredible communicator, but cant even
keep up a conversation with her son. Ezra seems to only listen to the things he wants to
hear. Ezra meets the requirements in 2 because he shows a lack of response and he
needs repetition. But, hes close to 3 because he becomes startled and covers his ears
when hearing everyday sounds like the water fountain at Dr. Millers office.
9.) Taste, smell and touch response and use : 2.5
Similar to Temple, Ezra loves being comforted but not by humans. He craves the
feeling of being tightly squeezed, pleading for Shawn and me to roll him up in a blanket,
and then demanding that we do it again, only more snugly. He climbs under heavy
objects, mattresses, area rugs but flees from his mothers embrace (Fields-Meyer

29). Hes very precise about his food too. He wont eat pizza before touching it with his
index finger to get the feel of temperature, he refuses to eat a banana if its not whole.
Tom explains that hes drawn to feeling the textures of all kinds of fabric, obsessively
pulling fibers out of quilts or clothing and chewing on them. Also, he has a compulsion to
test unknown textures with his tongue.
10.) Fear or nervousness : 3.0
Ezra shows little fears to most things children should be afraid of and big fears in the
little things. One example is how often Ezra gets lost by himself. He isnt afraid of going
somewhere without his parents. At a very young age, he would just walk away and do
his own thing but most kids would be frightened without their mom or dad. Also, hes not
afraid of heights. He loves being pushed high up on the swing and enjoys climbing
anything. That compulsion is combined with a fearlessness that I find both
extraordinary and alarming (Fields- Meyer 29). Its surprising to Tom how unaware Ezra
is of the dangers that could come out of climbing tall structures. Another reason I rated
Ezra a 3.0 is because of his experience at Dr. Millers office. Everything there seems to
frighten him or make him feel uneasy. He hides from a puppet named Alf and doesnt
calm down until she locks Alf up in a drawer. This could be because of Ezras
heightened senses but he becomes very scared when he hears a drinking fountain. He
cant stand the sound it makes and covers his ears.

11.) Verbal communication : 1.5

Ezras speech alone seems to be good, but the way he communicates with others isnt.
Im rating him a 1.8 because all the other ratings seem too abnormal for Ezra. For
example, 2.0s description is Speech shows overall retardation some echolalia or
pronoun reversal may occur and I dont think the whole description applies to Ezra. He
shows challenges in the way he responds to things, but hes able to have a clear
conversation when he wants to. Originally, I was going to rate him a 1.0, but then I read
over what Dr. Miller had to say about Ezra. Ezra has many of the characteristics: the
echoing of words and phrases, known as echolalia; the repetition of words and sounds
and motions, called perseveration (Fields-Meyer 44). Also, around seven years old
he begins asking a lot of questions that are inappropriate. For example, he asks random
people walking by questions like, Why are you so fat? and How did you get so fat?.
12.) Nonverbal communication : 2.5
Id say Ezra is in-between mildly abnormal use of nonverbal communication and
moderately abnormal. He has a hard time explaining what he wants so he either stays
silent or sometimes will shout it out. I had a hard time rating Ezra on this because he
can be quiet and already is usually nonverbal, so you would think he would rather figure
out a way to communicate without using words. I wouldnt rate him any higher than 2.5

because when hes scared of things he often points at whatever is scaring him like Alf,
the green dinosaur in the classroom and the drinking fountain.
13.) Activity level : 2.5
One part of the 3.0 description that pointed out at me was may not go to sleep readily
at night. Night after night Tom tries his best to get Ezra to sleep. This begins around
age 3. When I repeatedly return Ezra to his bed, Im not soothing him into drowsiness.
Hes being stimulated (Fields-Meyer 28). Another example of Ezras high activity level is
at a neighborhood lunch when Ezra squirms out of his booster seat within minutes,
removes every piece of clothing, and then starts running laps around the table (FieldsMeyer 29). Ezra seems to always be running away, jumping and just extremely
14.) Level and consistency of intellectual response : 2.5
Ezra is a smart boy, he could talk to you about animals for days and tell you all the
different kinds of species. But, its not extremely consistent. With other subjects Ezra
can easily get confused or just have no interest in learning about that topic. He has no
trouble reading and writing, although at first his parents werent positive he was actually
reading and comprehending the words. Another way Ezra shows his intelligence is
when he types out what he wants to say to his dad on the computer. Tom learned this
from a boy Tito who also has autism and this strategy worked well.

15.) General impressions : 3.0

Ezra shows a number of symptoms or a moderate degree of autism. He fits into every
category whether it be mild to moderate. He definitely doesnt have highly severe autism
because hes quite high functioning independently. But, hes on the higher scale of the
spectrum. I think his parents helped Ezras progression out a lot. If they hadnt started
getting him help at such a young age, continuously kept trying and found the right
school for him then he couldve had a much lower amount of progress.

Section Two: Analysis and strategies

Dear Parents or Guardians,
My name is Gabriela Cassar and Ive been studying autism for quite a while now.
Theres many different categories to look at when trying to diagnose a child who may
have autism. The rating scale I use is called Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS).
Some categories I look at are emotional response, relating to people, fears and
intellectual response. Using numbers 1-4 I rate the child based on one category out of
the fifteen. Then, I add up the score from all fifteen categories and figure out how severe
the child is affected by autism.

First off, Id like to tell you that Ezra is an incredibly nice child. Ive definitely seen
him grow over the past couple years and slowly, become more comfortable in certain
situations that he used to be uncomfortable in. Overall, I rated him a 38 out of 60 on the
spectrum of autism. This number doesnt define Ezra, its just helpful to know. 38 means
Ezra is on the lower scale of having severe autism. Mildy-moderately autism ends at 36
if that helps you understand this a bit more.
One of Ezras weaknesses that we are working on together is relating to others.
He seems to cling onto things like toy animals and fictional characters but he has little
interest in his peers. I rated him a 3.0 in this category because he often seems unaware
of others almost as if he doesnt hear them. Sometimes it can take a while for Ezra to
respond, so you need to remember patience is key. Also, I noticed that at his birthday
party he ran upstairs while all of his classmates were playing downstairs. This caught
my attention and is another reason as to why I scored him with a 3.0.
Ezra has an absolutely amazing memory. He could tell you for days about
thousands of different species of reptiles, tell you exact quotes from disney movies, and
hes very good with remembering dates. But when it comes to actual school subjects such as english, math and science - he has a much harder time grasping onto
information and fully understanding the topic. For this category, I rated Ezra a 2.5, inbetween mildly abnormal intellectual functioning and moderately. This is because he

functions nearly normal in one or more intellectual area but isnt at the same level in
school as his peers.
As you may already know, Ezra is a blunt person. You can look at this as either a
blessing or a curse. Often, he will go up to strangers and ask inappropriate questions
like Why are you fat? or say things like youre old, youre gonna die soon, etc. But this
is something he is learning to control.
You have a wonderful child and Im so lucky to be working with Ezra. If you have
any further questions or concerns feel free to make contact with me. I would love to do
anything I can to help you out. Ezra has a promising life ahead of him.
Gabriela Cassar

Hello future peer mentor,
First thing you have to know about Ezra is he loves animals. You can get a great
conversation out of him if you bring up the zoo. Dont take it personally if he comes off

quiet and shy, thats just him. It may take a while for him to feel comfortable with you, or
you could get lucky and hell automatically be comfortable.
When hes being more quiet or not responsive just stay patient. He may need you
to repeat yourself a few times before he answers. Keep him involved in what hes doing
and make sure hes interested. His mind can wander off sometimes, and thats alright.
Give him a little break every once in a while or go play outside, hell love it.
Socially, Ezra needs a little push. He can go into his own world, Planet Ezra but
its important that he works on his social interaction with his classmates. You may
experience Ezras inappropriate honesty when hes socializing, just make sure he knows
the things he says arent okay to say at that time. Weve been working on this for a
while, so he should be good, but if he does let him know to keep those thoughts in his
With reference to schoolwork, homework can be tricky. Ezra struggles to sit and
do homework, usually, walking or talking helps him process information. One tip I
learned, was to read him the question while walking around, this ensures that Ezra will
understand and participate the most in homework. Be patient with Ezra, it takes him
multiple tries to understand the homework, so stay calm and it will eventually pay off.
I wish you the best of luck with Ezra, Im sure you two will make great memories
together. Just remember to take your time with him and not become frustrated, this will

only make things worst. Also, he loves The Simpsons and disney movies so those are a
few more topics you can talk about that will get him excited. If you need any further
advice let me know!
Gabriela Cassar