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Friday, February 22, 2013

The Stuff Kids Say - Autism Edition

A friend of mine passed this video on to me yesterday, and it made me laugh out loud:

Rogier Hesp - Drama Queen / Young Directors Award 2010 from Neverland Film on Vimeo.

And then I got to thinking about one of the more hilarious and occasionally embarrassing points of living with an autistic child: you never know what's going to come out of their mouth.

Because David is sometimes inhabiting his own little world, he can have conversations that are in perfect context for him but make absolutely no sense (or have an entirely different meaning) to the rest of us. Sometimes I can figure it out - like if he's reciting dialogue from a movie. For instance, he's told people that I set him on fire (Avatar), that I made him eat moldy cheese (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), and that I'm going to drown him in a sack (Aladdin).

Then sometimes, he combines movies. Once, when we were out at the mall, he stopped suddenly, bending far over at the waist. I thought something was wrong - he was ill, then when he didn't answer me, I was afraid he was having some sort of seizure or something (he was pretending to be Truly Scrumptious in the wind-up doll scene from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang). Then when I tried to pick him up, he screamed at the top of his lungs "No! Don't lock me in a closet!" (Like Harry Potter) as everyone in the mall stared me down. Oy vey.

And sometimes, he's just making his own world with occasional sampling of other things. Yesterday, he was on the front lawn, building an imaginary castle. In his castle was an Applebees, and he was a waiter there, when he wasn't busy being the prince. When he delivered the food, he cut his hand with the imaginary knife, so of course, he rushed into the house, grabbed my hair and wrapped it around his hand to heal it, all the while commanding me to "Sing, Mom!!"

Thank goodness my neighbor has kids, too, and got the movie reference. And thank goodness she gets David. I know as he grows and encounters, there will be plenty of people who don't, and I won't always be around to translate or explain. I have nightmarish thoughts of a thirty year old David screaming "I'm going to shoot you!" (referencing any one of a bazillion movies) in a crowded Mall or in line at the airport, or fifty year old David asking a pretty teenager if she wants to give him a long kiss (because the hero always gives the pretty girl a long kiss at the end of the movie). What will happen to him if I'm not around?

Then I take a deep breath and remember - he's only nine. We have time. Time to teach him that pretending is best left undiscussed in public. Time for him to learn that we don't shout things that might scare other people. He's better about some of it already, compared to when he was five or six. He'll keep learning and he'll keep getting better at understanding.

I just hope he'll keep his imagination, in spite of it all.

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