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Friday, December 01, 2006

Technical Assistance

At 2:55 a.m. I follow in his wake. Every light in the house is on, blazing into the darkness. He sits on the family room carpet playing with his sister’s new toy. [translation = hooray! Unsupervised and self initiated imaginative play] I debate my best course of action in the blur of my brain. Ignore him? That’s what I should do, then he won’t get any positive reinforcement of this behaviour. [translation = being awake when he should be asleep]

I move towards the computer and try to focus on the screen, but my eyelids seem to have put on weight during the last four hours of sleep. [translation = weight gain in the wrong venu]

I remember that ignoring an autistic child is one of the more stupid things that you can do. I try and adopt my ‘autistic viewpoint’ widget. [translation = align my thought processes to something approximating my child’s] On the whole he is more than happy to be ignored. [translation = left in peace without any demands being put upon him] This means that instead of ignoring him I should do something positive. But what?

Whilst I think, a small person materializes by my side.
“What you do?” [translation = haven’t a notion at the moment]
“I er, I’m working on the computer.” [translation = bare faced lie, how can you ‘work’ when technically you are still asleep?]
“What it is?”
“Er, um, it’s a blog.” [translation = oh no, why did I say that? Now I will have to explain the unexplainable!]
“What it is ‘a blog.’?”
“Hmm, now it’s funny you should ask me that. Lots of people have been asking me that very same question, and do you know what? I haven’t got the foggiest notion what a blog really is.”
“You don know?”
“Well, some of them are diaries [translation = journals] others are just a way of chatting to your pals, but with written words rather than spoken words, like you would on the telephone.”
“I hate dah telephone.”
“I know.”
“So it is for the writing for the friends?”
“Correct. But I don’t know what it is really. What do you think it is? Do you like how it looks.” He peers and then squints his eyes.
“What it is, dah ‘tags,’ dah ‘sleep disruption’ is meaning?” You may well ask.
“Er ‘disruption’ is when things don’t go smoothly, you have a few bumps.”
“I like smooth.”
“So do I.”
“But I am liking the word ‘disruption’ dat is to do my new word of the week.”
Oh goodie!
“I’ll write it down for you, to add to your other words.”
“Der are words and I am reading dem. Der are pictures, and I am liking some of dem, but the best bit is dah tools.”
“The tools?”
“What tools?”
“Doze lickle fings over der, on dah right, dey are crossed over like the skull and crossbones of dah pirates. What day are?”
“I don’t know that either I’m afraid. They keep appearing.” I think they’re breeding during the night.

Point to Point [translation = an eye for the details]

Reluctant as I am, to cast about spurious rumours, [translation = rumors] I feel compelled to correct a few misapprehensions regarding professional persons who therapize my sons. At aged 7 and a half and nearly 6, autistic they may be, but without the ministrations of therapists [translation = early intervention programmes] we would be in an entirely different place. [translation = the funny farm] Their speech delays may be significant [translation = for some people], but they manage to make themselves understood one way or another.


Oh excuse me just a mo, [translation = second] someone is reading the screen whilst I type. [translation = one of the challenges [translation = problems] of some autistic children, it that they have 'splinters' of skills. [translation = something that they can do that many 'typical' children do not do i.e. the autistic child does it too early.] Excuse the digression but he won't be budged. [translation = fixates on his area of interest]

“Mind the step dear, that was my toe!” [translation = spatial awarenes isn't a 'strength' at the moment.

“Oopsie. Sorry toe.”

“Now what do you want? Can’t you see that I’m busy typing.”

“Typing? What it is da ‘typing?” [translation = the meaning of many simple words, defeat him, yet although 6, he can read just about anything. {subtranslation = hyperlexic}]

“Watch and learn.”

“Oh! typing is da letters on da screen?”


“I like dem.”

“Good, thanks so much for sharing that with me. Now, don’t you have something to do yourself, 'play' perhaps?” [translation = always positively reinforce all attempts at communication with your autistic 'non-verbal' child. [translation = even if it's inconvenient and time consuming]

“No fank oo, da 'playing' is da boring for me. I like to watch you doing the working with da letters.” A universal truth I suspect, ‘watching other people work’ that is to say. [translation = 'play' is a new thing around here, we're still learning how to do it. It is not a preferred activity.] “I don fink I am liking doze ones.”

“Really? Why?”

“Coz dey are too, too, too squarey.”

How about this one? This any better?”

“Yes, it is a bit better, but it is still too, too ‘small’ I am thinking.”

“Very well. How about this? Is this any better?”

“Oh yes! I am liking that one a whole lot betterer.”

“Great, now why don’t you run along and go and count something?”

“What I count?”

“Anything you like.”


“How about bounces on the trampolene? That’s a great one, you are so good at your bounces.”

“I fort you said dat I was no good?” [translation = oopsie]

“Hmm, what I actually said was that it would be better if you could put your heels down, rather than jumping on your tippy toes and making your calf muscles lock.”

“Ah. So I am not da bad one?”

“No, you are the best jumper on tippy toes that I have ever met.”

“Fank you. You are a bad jumper though. Oopsie, sorry I hurted your feelings.”

“That’s o.k. now run along and bounce to one hundred. Don’t forget the ‘ands’.”

“But the ‘ands’ are making me tired!” Hardly surprising really, 1 – 100 plus ‘and’ between each number, must be 199 all told. [translation = by my reckoning] Certainly would make my calves ache. [translation = but it 's better than making my brain ache by trying to rise to his high standards of penmanship]

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