I have moved over to WhittereronAutism.com. Please follow the link to find me there. Hope to see you after the jump! :)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

sun - Breakfast at…….mid day maybe?

What can I say? It seemed like a good idea at the time. Why not combine our weekly trip to a restaurant with a gentle stroll? I'm on my own at the moment as their Dad had to "leave" for "England" unexpectedly.

I think my first mistake was the belief that ‘breakfast in restaurant,’ equated with ‘motivation or reward,’ surely proof positive of a serious brain malfunction on my part.

I knew that my brain was in a worm hole because after less than 50 yards I could calculate that at the current rate of progress, we might just arrive by next week, if we were very lucky. During these scientific multiplications it also dawned on me that next week, after we had eaten breakfast, I lacked any suitable motivation for the return trip home.

I was haunted by the upcoming newspaper headlines:-

‘Foreigner takes up residence in Flames restaurant.

When interviewed, the woman Mrs. Madeline McMad, 47, explained that although she had permanent residence status in the United States, she and her children we unable to leave Flames, a family run franchise. McMad’s home is approximately 1000 yards from the restaurant. Although walking impaired, she otherwise appears to be in good health. McMad owns a vehicle and a valid California Driver’s license.

The owner of the restaurant, Mrs. Lalima Bhata is at a loss to explain her sudden popularity.

"At first I thought they were seeking Political Asylum but they’re already citizens."

The case is now being handled by the FBI, due to possible International terrorist connections. Agent "Mu Meng" was not at liberty to provide further information but explained ‘clearly this woman has some serious, unresolved, psychological issues. She has a perfectly good car and yet choose to walk to the establishment. Now she claims that she has lost the ability to walk. You can be sure that there is more to this than meets the eye. She has an ulterior motive and it’s our duty to find that motivation and protect the American people from this idle threat.’

Anyone willing to put up bail?

Innocent until proven guilty, often

The cheeky and disrespectful attitude of some teenagers is the bane of many a parents’ life, but when it occurs in the pre-teen population I am ill prepared.

When my daughter’s play date comes to a merciful end, her Dad drives her pal home. My daughter accompanies them so as to spend a few more precious moments together. I busy myself with dinner preparations whilst the boys indulge in 30 minutes electronics time.

Although I’m in the kitchen, I can hear my youngest talk to himself in the family room. “My Mom dun like yur behaviour! My Mom dun like yur behaviour! My Mom dun like yur behaviour!” he chants to no-one in particular as he spins. At first I think he is correcting his toys, ordering them to shape up, tow the line and stop mucking about, but that doesn’t appear to be the case.

“Where did you hear that dear?”

He spins distractedly, pays me no heed. I’m not sure if he’s not heard me or is merely percolating.

I wait.

Eventually he comes up with a bellow:- “YOU!”
“Me. I never said any such thing.”

He doesn’t argue but continues to spin.
“What makes you say that? I’m sure I’ve never said that before.”
“You bin dun say…….’be yourself, don copy yur friend.’”

To say that I am flabbergasted would be an understatement. He’s right. Instead of telling my daughter that I don’t like how her friend behaves, I have asked her not to copy her friend. Her friend’s language, tone, attitude and approach to life, is not what I want for my own children. I want her to be herself, unique, not a clone nor a sheep.

I pause to reflect upon what this means, because it means so many things all at once.

I have been aware for a long time that their receptive language is miles ahead of their expressive language, or rather, that they understand far more than we think, even if they are not able to respond verbally to demonstrate their understanding.

It also means that like most children they hear and understand lots of things that sloppy parents say, the ubiquitous ‘walls have ears.’

It indicates that he is able to accurately interpret a sophisticated social nuance, he’s made a huge leap in understanding inferences. Inferences are notoriously difficult for autistic people to comprehend.


An example.

You and I walk towards a door together. Because you are polite, you open the door for me and step back. Because I am autistic I do not understand this gesture and step aside too. You say “after you,’ to prompt me to step through the door. I step behind you because sometimes I can remember what ‘after’ means. You and I do a soft shoe shuffle, neither of us understands, so we probably trip over each other and land in a heap.

You doubt me? It happens almost every day, even now, or some variation on a theme. By behaving in this way, I am not being stupid or trying to be exceptionally annoying. I’m actually demonstrating advanced social skills by remaining with you as your companion. I was doing something far more interesting than walking, when you interrupted me. I stopped doing what I was doing and came with you, willingly even though it was obviously pointless and boring. I stayed with you rather that going through the door and leaving you behind. Remember, we were walking together afterall.

What it means for me personally, cynic that I am, is that I should never under estimate the possibilities. I am right to remain optimistic. Perish the thought!

The same wavelength

My spouse phones me from England. He left in a "hurry."

“I left a few things behind by mistake.”
“Nothing important I hope?”
“Paracetamol, Excedrin Migraine, the New Scientist.”
“Oh good, nothing important then.”
“What do you mean? They’re all important.”
“Um ……well you can buy all that over there.”
“Oh……I suppose.”
“They do have shops too you know.”
“Yes…….I suppose…..anyway I was wondering if you could do a couple of things for me?”
“Of course, just name it.”
“Could you take the oscilloscope out of the garage and put it somewhere safe.”
“What is an oscilloscope and why isn’t it already safe in the garage?”
“Well you often leave the garage door open…….you forget to close it………which means that anyone could just walk in and steal the oscilloscope.”
“Of all the things that someone might want to steal from us, you think that their first choice would be the oscilloscope?”
“?.....well don’t worry, since you’re not here I’m being much more careful about security.”
“And at night?”
“Ooo yes especially at night. Don’t want to invite the attention of the local axe murderer do we?”
“Is there a local axe murderer?”
“Um…I mean……who is the local axe murderer?”
“Tell you what, why don’t you go and rest. Stress and jet lag can play havoc with your brain waves.”
“Ooo by the way, what is an oscilloscope?”
“It’s an instrument that displays the level of a signal relative to changes in time. A voltmeter is fine for measuring steady levels like test tones or for checking torch batteries, but it is impossible to observe a signal's instantaneous value or to determine whether you have a square wave or a sine for that matter.”
“Of course, silly me. So what do you use if for?”
“I use it to check newly designed circuitry. The new circuits misbehave because of design errors, bad voltage levels and electrical noise.”

Maybe we have more in common that I thought?

Hindsight - how I would do things differently

As some of you may know, I also write at "Trusera" now and after lengthy negotiations with "Rosie."..........

If I knew then what I know now, there are many things that I would change. This is far from a complete list, merely a random selection.

1. I would have negotiated with my other half, .......to "read more"

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