Friday, March 22, 2013

Autistically Speaking...

Most people take every day language for granted.  I know I have.  There are so many rules in the English language that I have really never questioned until now.  Our son is very literal on so many levels and language is one of the strongest areas for him.  Although his verbal skills are off the charts when it comes to his tests, he has difficulty understanding some of our everyday uses of speech.  The other day I was telling my husband that he may freeze if he wore the short sleeved shirt he had on, rather than something a bit warmer.  Our son instantly piped up with, "Really Mommy?  He will freeze?  How could he freeze even though it is not even 32* outside.  It's impossible to freeze right now.".  I had to explain that it was a figure of speech, that it meant daddy would be cold in just a short sleeved shirt.  He gave me a look of confusion, but went on about his business.  I wonder how many times he is listening to a conversation and gets confused about what is being talked about.  If we ask him a question like, "Son, who are you speaking to?" he  will say, "You know who I'm speaking to, you are right there and see and hear me talking."  It's not that he's being disrespectful, he is not understanding why we would ask a question that is evident, when what we are saying is, "You can't talk that way to an adult, its disrespectful."

When the kids ask us a question that may require a "maybe" for an answer, our son automatically realizes that there is a great chance of a "yes" with this answer.  Later when we have decided and the answer is "no", it often dissolves into a meltdown of sorts because he had geared himself up for the more positive answer rather than realizing that there was the same chance of a "no".  We have learned that we cannot use the word "maybe" with our son and we have to be more direct.  Often we will say no and then if we can, change it to a yes later.

He listens to and follows most rules to a T.  We have a rule that when the kids are getting in the van, the girls go first, but getting out, our son goes first so he can assist the girls in getting out(plus he is right by the door).  If one of our girls get by without him getting out first we are in for a rant.  "She was not supposed to get out, the rule is I get out first!  She can't do that!".  There are no exceptions with rules, ie, need to get to the potty before having an accident.

His sister sometimes forgets to chew with her mouth closed at the table and he will most definitely point it out.  He will say things like, "She sounds like a dog!  It's gross!" not realizing that he could hurt her feelings.  When confronted he often replies, "But its the truth, I'm not lying to you.  Dogs do eat their food like that.".  This has been very difficult to teach him because he is very truthful.  We are trying to teach him that we don't have to share every truth at the expense of someone's feelings.  We have responses of, "Why can't I say that?  It's the truth.  How is she going to know it bothers me if I don't tell her?  She won't learn."

We are starting to understand our son more and more.  Language is one of the areas that we have to watch ourselves with and explain things to him when we realize that he did not understand what we were talking about.  It is not natural for him, but he is learning.  He is learning that he cannot talk to adults in the same manner that he talks to a friend or sibling.  He is also learning that telling the truth at the sake of someone's feelings is sometimes not the best way about it.  My husband and I have had quite a few laughs along the way with some of our sons literalness.  These moments have made the tough times more bearable as parents. After all laughter is truly like a medicine!  We love our boy and are very thankful for him and his uniqueness and we wouldn't change him for anything else!  He is created by a perfect God and our God does not make mistakes!  Thank you God for entrusting this boy to us.  Give us the wisdom to teach him in the way he should go. 

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