March 31, 2010

June's Mid-Week Brain Dump - All About The Boy

Having a child with Asperger's means that you literally spend half your day being literal. For example, if he's annoying me by pounding on the desk with something, if I say "knock it off" - the object he was using may be swatted onto the floor (when I really just wanted him to stop making noise).

It's a bit like living with Amelia Bedelia sometimes (great kids' books, BTW).

The Boy also has the flair for the dramatic - he's very expressive (and often LOUD) with his comments. Every day, I live in fear of his embarrassing someone (or me) by the off-the-wall, strange or downright insulting comments he makes. 

Oh, and there's nothing quite like a shopping trip where he gives "helpful" tips to parents of misbehaving children, or children who are doing unsafe things. Think Drs. Spock, Brazelton or Sears (pick your favorite pediatrician) with ZERO tact.

Also, the Boy's style of communication has led to laughter recently. Here are some recent examples:

Topic: Special Olympics
He started swimming lessons for Special Olympics last week. Upon meeting his swimming instructor, he was asked if he liked swimming. 

His response? "Yes, swimming is a hobby of mine, but I am a puppeteer." The instructor, a very nice, patient woman, gave him a quizzical look at that.

She asked if he was going to compete in the Olympics, and he responded, "No, I'm just here for the fun."

One of the other swimmers was complaining about being in the pool. 
The Boy's response? "Just get in and get it over with, it will be over soon."

Driving home after class, I asked him why he didn't want to compete. I said that it might be fun, and that the goal was not to beat anyone, but to simply do his best.

His response? "Now you're acting like a competitive beauty pageant mother! STOP!" 

Topic: Behavior Specialist Assessment
This week, we had a visit from a behavior specialist. She came to assess The Boy, so she could determine whether he qualified for some Autism services. She brought books, picture cards and action figures and miscellaneous stuff (the figures and stuff were for a role-playing exercise). She also asked him some questions about his plans for the future.

First, she brought out a children's story book (remember, The Boy is almost fifteen). They looked over the story, and she asked him questions about what was happening, and what he thought would happen next. He read the single line of text on each page, and answered all of her questions satisfactorily.

When they finished, he said, "You know, this book is far below my reading level" - in a rather indignant tone. "I think you are underestimating my intelligence." 

She picked up an action figure (she named her Miss America), and attached a toy scuba tank to her, and pretended to have the figure swimming in the depths of the ocean. She then complained that she was having trouble breathing, so The Boy grabbed the Batman figure and "rescued" her. 

She asked how he might repair her tank. He picked up a small wrench that was in the bag, and attempted to fix the tank (even though the business end of the wrench was five times bigger than the breathing apparatus). He said, quite seriously, "You are now going to see that I have absolutely no skills in this area."

Her next task involved showing him a story from cards. The story was about a monkey who climbed a coconut tree. He threw down the coconuts, and planned to pick them up and eat them when he climbed back down. Unfortunately, another monkey came by - he was stealing the coconuts that the monkey threw. Bad monkey!

The monkey thought a minute, and devised his plan to get rid of that bad monkey. He would throw a coconut and wait for the thieving monkey. And when the the monkey tried to pick up the coconut, our treebound friend threw a coconut and hit the bad monkey on the head. Again, a simple story.

The Boy was told to act out the story...and act, he did.

He stood up (we were at the kitchen table) and grabbed some spice containers and began throwing them on the floor. WTH? 

He hunkered down, like he was the bad monkey, and picked up a plastic bottle of cinnamon. With his other hand, he hit himself in the back of the head with another spice container. Aha! The bad monkey was defeated.

I had visions of broken spice bottles and the aroma of several herbs and spices wafting up from the floor. Luckily, no herbs were harmed in the re-enactment of the story.

I don't think the behavior specialist EVER thought he'd use props.

Her final task involved asking The Boy questions about his life, school, and his thoughts about the future.

She asked if he ever thought about getting married? His response? "Yes...does that make me weird?"

When she asked why he thought that was weird, he said, "Guys are too worried about being hardasses to think about stuff like that."

When she convinced him that even her own son talked about getting married and having a family one day, he said, "I thought only girls and gay men talked about getting married!"

She asked WHY he wanted to get married. His response? "You get married to have children. And if this were the 1950s, you get married so you're not the odd duck."

Is The Boy the only adolescent on the planet who thinks you have to be married to have children? Even though he knows some "love children" personally?

She showed him a map of the US, and asked him to point out states that he knew...he did pretty well on that. She said that she was going West on her vacation in a couple of days. He guess California, then asked, "Can you get me autographs? And bring Sigourney Weaver back with you? She's HOT!" And then he growled.

Oh, and if Sigourney was unavailable? He'd take Miley Cyrus.

At least we know his hormones are working properly.


  1. I swear to you this post sounds just like my nephew Allen. he has Asperger's and is so literal. I tell my Mom when I go over and he might be leaving with my Dad, you know if you told him to get in and drive that truck he would because he has no idea he can't. Then she laughs and tells me that he could probably drive better than my Dad but that is a whole other He is very into fixing things, shiny things and keys especially. You cannot leave keys lying around or they will be gone. He has always been the same way about change. he will always take it. he is not trying to steal like some might say he just really likes shiny things. I really enjoy hearing about your son and this was very interesting. Thank you for sharing.

  2. So did he qualify for the services? You are such a strong woman. I'm even more impressed by you now!

  3. He sounds fine to me and really were his answers any different then what my boys would do - not so much. I love the 50's idea of odd duck out, only wish more girls had his idea of waiting for marriage to have kids, including my own.

  4. He truly is an old soul. I know I'm gonna find myself sharing these stories with others. I don't have an autistic child but it has always been an area of interest for me.
    He certainly sounds like he will be able to function pretty well as an adult (he's certainly smarter than some I know)

  5. I love his responses to marriage!
    I thought only girls and gay men talked about marriage... thanks for the laugh, I needed it today! : )

  6. Your son sounds charming, even though he has his own set of challenges. The "matter-of-factness" is always a surprise even though you tend to expect it. My co-worker says things that sometimes give me pause even though I know to expect it.

  7. Good thing I wasn't the assessor, I'd pat him on the back and say "well done, I think we're finished here".

    I would have been totally freaked watching my spices hit the floor :-)

  8. Great post. It is good I wasn't there - I would have been rolling on the floor.


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