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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Shucks! Darnit!

Autism with speech delay can be a source of great frustration and annoyance, primarily for the speaker.

So many words are difficult to pronounce that an approximation becomes the norm until musculature matures with practice and time. If it wasn’t already annoying enough to deal with such daily challenges, every so often someone arbitrarily changes the rules. For instance, there is one particular word, one of many, that causes no end of angst, namely ‘evening.’ We know what evening means. We have a vague notion about when it occurs but it is virtually impossible to pronounce. We have learned to accept that for the time being ‘ eve nin,’ is more than good enough.

But once a year during the month of December, some foolish people refer to a particular reference point, namely ‘Christmas Eve.’ ‘Christmas’ we get, but ‘eve,’ although easier to say, is a shackle, one that causes no end of frustration. It falls into a category of many other words, words that are more than two syllables and familiar. If you are used to saying ‘Massachusetts’ with ease and flair, it is very difficult to stop yourself from pronouncing the last syllable, as suddenly the last syllable is surplus to requirements. You should try it some time if you doubt me, Massachu hold your ‘setts,’ Mississip and hold the ‘pi,’ the Marquis of Queensbur and hold the ‘y.’ It’s so grossly unfair. For some reason our brains and tongues refuse to stop, as the last sound is irresistible. Hence we experience a great deal of pain with the word ‘eve’ which keeps running into ‘eve nin’ or pops out as ‘eva’ when the brakes are rammed on really hard.

For current purposes we shall gloss over the competing issue, the time bomb, that declares that a whole day cannot be an ‘eve.’

As Christmas Eve approaches, I think it would be aesthetically pleasing to lie. To explain that my darling son came to me on that precious night, as the candles flicker in the warmth of twilight, to articulate the word ‘eve’ into my shell like ear, a gift like none other and we all lived happily ever after…….or some such nonsense. The truth however, is far less neat and tidy. This time next year, or maybe the year after, I’m confident that he will continue to grow and these difficulties will lessen, but for the time being we are left with the current exchange rate, daily, that goes a bit like this:-

“Ooo I am love!”
“Yes I know you love Christmas dear.”
“When is Eva…..? Shucks darnit!”
“Lets look at the chart together and you can tick off another day.”

Quite soon Eva will be gone from his repetoire. I think I almost miss her already.

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