Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Wonder of the Autistic Child (mostly mine)

I love autistic kids!  I live with one!  Actually, Danny isn't officially autistic.  He has an "intellectual disability with autistic tendencies"...a fancy way of saying he has mild mental retardation (low IQ) and autism.  This year at work I am a kindergarten assistant, but for the past few years I have been a special ed. assistant for grades K through 3.  I have worked with some amazing kids with all kinds of disabilities, but I have to say that autistic kids are my favorite.  Talk about quirky!  And out of the autistic kids, the Asberger's kids are the best!  In case you don't know what that is, asberger's is very high functioning autism.  They have high IQ's, but their social skill are WAY off.  You can actually have a conversation about planets or roman numerals with a 5 year old asbergers kid.  It's amazing!
One of the things I really love about autistic kids is that they don't get the concept of lying.  I can't speak for all of them, but just the ones I know.  In the past I have asked one boy if he actually spit on another child (I knew he did because I saw it).  He said "Yes and I'm NOT sorry!!"  Love it!  Now, my 20 year old kid on the other hand is just learning about this lying thing.  "Danny, did you spill red paint on the basement carpet?"  Danny:  "No" (eyes darting around, the slightest of smirks at the corners of his mouth).  Me:  "Danny, it looks like an animal was slaughtered in the basement!  Tell me the truth"  Danny (big grin): "I am telling the truth!"  Me:  "Dude (yes, I say Dude), I am not going to yell at you.  Just tell me the truth because I know it was you.  There isn't anyone else here!"  Danny:  "Yes"  Me (slapping myself in the head):  "Jeez!  Why do you have to make it so difficult??" Danny:  "I dunno"
My boy also doesn't tell me about things he should be proud of, like being Student of the Month.  I have to find out from his teachers.  The kid could find a cure for cancer and he wouldn't tell anyone!  I'd get a call from his teacher!  Teacher:  "Did Danny tell you he cured cancer today?  It was very exciting!"  Me:  "No, he doesn't tell me anything."  A later conversation with him would go...Me:  "Hey buddy!  Did something exciting happen today?"  Dan:  "No"  Me:  "C'mon!  I got a call from Mr./Mrs. Teacher-this-year!  Did you cure cancer today?"  Dan:  "Yeah."  Me:  "Dude!  That's awesome!  You should be telling everyone!"  Danny:  "No thank you."  He is usually very polite about it.
Typically we can't get the kid to talk to us about anything, but lately we can't get him to shut up!  I get home from work, craving peace and quiet and Danny comes upstairs and starts talking.....and talking....and talking!  He tends to repeat himself about 50,000 times.  "Joe is my best friend"  Me:  "That's great"  Dan:  "He's like a little brother to me"  Me:  "Awesome!  I'm glad he means so much to you"  Dan:  "Yeah, he's my best friend"  Me:  "You said that"  Dan: "He's just like a little brother to me"  Me:  "Yeah, I got that.  I'll bet he's your best friend too".  He doesn't always get my sarcasm.
Most people brag about their 20 year old sons getting good grades in college, or scoring on their football team, or talk about their son's girlfriend.  We get to talk about how, when we go to make sure he is up for school, we can find him snuggled up with his favorite teddy bear, or how he made a giant Power Ranger cut out on poster board.  Most 20 year olds have things on the Christmas list like a new car, a trip, a Wii, or clothes.  Our kid wants bottles of Tacky Glue and a DVD of Beast Wars 2.  I love his simplicity!
All kids are amazing, and everyone's kid is the best to them, but I have to say, we have a very special, special- needs kid.  We wouldn't trade him in for all the "normal" kids in the world!!


  1. First of all, "normal" is not a concept this family recognizes. It's one of those weird words like "functional." Beware of functional (or normal) families. They're a disaster waiting to happen! Give me a 20-year old grandson who still believes in Santa Claus. That's my kind of dude!

  2. May God Bless you and all care-givers in this world as we see the special light that is in every child. I wish things could be "simple" and innocent for all of us. The smile that eminates from our children comes from so deep within, that it would melt even the coldest heart. They are our sunshine on the darkest of days. What better words to hear than "I Love You" from them as they are sincere.