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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Helpful Interpreter sabotages credibility

One of my chaps suffers from tactile defensiveness. [translation = doesn’t like the way things feel for current purposes] Because of this, his Birthday Suit is his favorite. [translation = prefers to live life without the trouble of laundry] He is a very lucky boy, because several people have worn his clothes before he does. This means that they are soft. He is also lucky that he lives in California, where signs on restaurants and other public establishments, give advice to similarly minded people: ‘shirt and shoes required.’

It is unfortunate [for us] that he is also hyperlexic. [translation = he can read and understand, more than is common for one of such tender years, for current purposes] Since he is also literally minded, it is difficult to argue with him; “but it dun say nuffink abowt twousers!” This kind of behavior makes a parent hypervigilant too. Turn you back for a moment and all you are left with is a pile of clothes. In the alternative, if luck is on your side, you can play Hansel and Gretel in the Mall, following the trail of clothes, because the hypervigilant, are also speed demons. But I digress.

We bow and leave Karate without the white garb, as this is our first week. [translation = newbies] The bow is his cue, he knows it’s all over. As he stands, he arches back, throws his head up to the ceiling and starts screaming his mantra, ‘no nuniform! denEYEbee NAY ked,’ at fifty decibels. I scoop him up and smile at the other participants. ‘Please let the Karate uniforms appear next time’ I plead to the great uniform dispenser in the sky. Tears course down his face and I’m grateful that as he wipes his nose on my shoulder, his cries become more muffled. Autism for him, means a certain lack of tolerance, amongst other things. His emotions are off or on, and flit between each extreme without warning. I’m fortunate that his speech delay makes him incomprehensible to the rest of the class.

His sister comes to my side, taking pity on his plight, ‘don’t worry, they’ll be here next week, I’m sure,” she says with more optimism that she probably feels.
A kindly man drifts across to us, as I herd my brood towards the door. “He sure loves class.” I smile non-committally and cup junior’s head in closer for the next ‘no nuniform! denEYEbee NAY ked,’’ I slip my hand over my sons, as he grips the neck of his T-shirt to rip it off. His bottom wriggles, trying to slough off his shorts, a superfluous shedding of snakeskin. “It can be tough for them to transition when they’re little,” he adds gently. Fortunately, I am familiar with this kind of American lingo, “yes, he’ll be just fine, as soon as I get him out to the car.”

"No nuniform! denEYEbee NAY ked,’ continues to come in angry staccato bursts, as he struggles to get his arms out of his threadbare T-shirt. I debate whether it is physically possible to remove all your clothing whilst you’re being carried, but I have no personal life experiences to draw upon?

“Yup, he sure is a determined little guy,” he says in the conversational tone of one ‘knowing’ parent to another, as we step in unison. Senior brings up the rear, but has no words, for which I am grateful. His sister joins in, addresses her little brother in a jovial voice, at just the right pitch to travel well, “you know the rule, you gotta keep em on, nobody here wants to see ya butt naked, that would be inappropriate cos we’re not at home.” I swallow hard, feeling my grip tighten on junior’s thrashing 52 lbs. The man’s face sags, his lips part, I avoid his eyes.


Anonymous said...

Charlie is in the same boat with wanting to be naked most of the time. It is easing as he gets older, but I have a friend who has a son who is 14 and more severely autistic than Charlie. She is afraid that people are going to see her battling with her son as he tries to keep himself naked and she tries to dress him, sometimes on the side of the road (he undresses when they are in the car) and think that she is molesting him.

chrisd said...

Well, hi there! I read your comments on my post--thank you and hugs from IL.

His sensory problem is, as you suggested, sound. Especially flushing toilets (that's real fun at the zoo where they have automatic flushers--the bane of my existence)

We've tried the earplugs but it hasn't helped that much.

Next year we'll do something as a family--we are blessed that he is so high functioning but it's hard in its own way.

It's just so nice to meet you!

chrisd said...

BTW, I added you as a link! Thanks again for the comment!

Thank goodness elections are over; too bad all the blah blah isn't.



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