Back to the Future – the weight of the world

We chat on the way to the supermarket in the car. It is a proper chat because it is not about Pokemon. Who ever thought that we would ever enjoy a casual chat! The casual chat has been instigated by me, because I wish to distract from the imminent torture of the supermarket. It’s a thoroughly delightful new tactic. The chat is also prompted by the Brain Quest Third Grade (3rd Edition). As they are about to enter 4th and 5th grades in the Fall it is obvious that they are both well below grade level academically. When they were little, the answers were easy but the words were difficult. Now the answers are elusive but the words flow much more freely. All too often I find that as one thing advances another recedes, it’s a trade off. I believe it’s quite common. You can see it in “John Elder Robison’s” book called “Look me in the Eye.” When John was little he had extraordinary talents but as an adult those skills were unavailable to him. The chat comes to an abrupt halt.
“Lets not talk about it any more.”
“Why dear?”
“Coz I don wanna talk about dah future.”
“How come?”
“Coz I worry about dah future.”
“What is there to worry about?”
“My babies.”
“What babies?”
“My children.”
“But you don’t have any children yet.”
“I know and I’m worried I’m not gonna have any.”
“Why won’t you have any?”
“Coz of dah married bit.”
“The married bit?”
“No-one’s gonna wanna marry me.”
“Oh no, you’re quite wrong there. I’m absolutely sure that there’s someone out there for you, just the right one.”
“But I can’t do it.”
“Er… what dear?”
“Dah slow dancing.”
“Slow dancing! I don’t think that’s very important. Not everyone likes to dance. Anyway, you’re so good at fast dancing and robot dancing. Lots of people like that too.”
“Dya think?”
“Indeed I do!”
“No…..dya think dat…….one day when I am all grown up dat I will be being……a…da, .a… da, …..a…da……”
“Be what dear? A dad?”

And don’t forget to add your name to the “book giveaway.”

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‘I am be…..’ – Career Choices for autistic people

This is a little phrase I hear every so often. To be honest, it’s not a phrase that I ever thought I would hear because pretend play didn’t find us for a very long time.

I don’t know your priorities but I would highly recommend the following – keep a list [yes another one] . Stick your piece of paper in the kitchen. Where else [?] and add to it regularly. It makes for a delightful easy splot of nostalgia; ‘what will you be when you grow up?’

[We apply this to all family members on the theory that some day we adults may have different jobs!]

Oh how it changes.

Oh how it doesn’t resemble anything that the typical kids come up with.

All the usual fire fighter, super hero, artist options never see the light of day. Instead we have an eclectic collection of options, phases that they grow through. Do not allow your older children to destroy it as evidence they now find embarrassingly babyish.

Now I suspect that some people are a little skeptical. Maybe a child is not able to speak or is currently learning to use PECs. Sometimes we parents are apt to be a bit pessimistic about the future. Some of us aim at independence but are shaky on the details of how to achieve that goal. It can be difficult to focus on the future when so many of us are buried the daily minutiae. All I can say, is that we have done this for several years now. Initially it was merely a initial exercise in extracting speech and engaging joint attention, one of the tiny steps in the equivalent of Floortime. It had the advantage of being a neutral subject that did not trigger meltdowns, namely, boring. It served so many different functions such as taking turns, listening skills and oddly enough, being in the here and now, together.

As is so often the case, all this time later, they now volunteer information. They tell me things because they want me to know these things. For some, this point is of no consequence, bewildering, why even mention it, but for others, the true significance of such a development is almost to tantalizing to think about. If you had told me 7 years ago that this would be so, I would probably have told you to go and boil your head, because I was even grumpier then than I am now. Now, it’s your turn to tell me to go and boil my head and I’ll see you back here in seven years to compare notes.

Disclaimer:- Dear google searcher ……….. asking this question will not make autism go away.

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