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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Learn by observation

Many autistic children are reluctant to make eye contact and mine are no exception. Additionally, they do not naturally orientate their bodies or faces to the person that they speak to. The average person, even when they leave mid conversation, is likely to talk over their shoulder as they depart. To have a conversation with someone who is in a constant state of movement is disconcerting. Generally speaking, it is my habit to attempt to reduce those movements, as it is supposed to help them concentrate on their speech, although I’m not entirely convinced. Occasionally, they manage it all by themselves.

I hang over the sink sputtering ineffectually as junior appears at my side. He lies his head on the counter for a better view, pillowed and protected from the cold surface by his long sleeved arm. “You are a spitter now? We can be doing the spitting togever? You are all better now?” I turn to face him, bespattered by toothpaste, grab a wash cloth and hold it close to my face.

“Do you get dirty when you spit dear?” He cogitates as white foam dribbles down my chin and drops onto the waiting cloth. He puts his index finger to his lips, an affectation that indicates that thought processing is in progress. His pupils sweep my face in assessment. His nose crinkles and eyes narrow.

“Er……you know I am finking dat you need to do the practicing more.”

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