Being the parent of an autist can feel like being a juggler. The issues of communication, behavior, and therapy spontaneously go ’round and ’round. Just when you’ve got a secure grip on one issue, two more spring up with the potential of ruining the whole act.
After years of observing and working with my own autist, there are days when it seems we’ve got it all down pat. Nothing much happens that isn’t rehearsed.
And then, we venture into public. Here we are on stage, live, and you just never know what these sweet autists will say. This is one area where I am always on my guard. Here are some fun things my autist has said in public. They either make me laugh or make me wish I was plucking my eyebrows instead!
1. Upon meeting a little girl at the park who was wearing a pair of red socks, Ashi yells, “Hey, it’s the Red Sox!” ( little snarl from said girl with red socks)
2. “Mom, does God appreciates Las Vegas?” ( People staring as if waiting for my reply)
3. Announcing to dumbfounded 4 year olds that “we are going to the 46th Annual Country Music Awards!” (This still remains a mystery to me.)
4. Screaming, “I want to live in a cage with the door shut!” ( Ashi relates most of life to the animal kingdom.)
5. Screaming at the top of her lungs, “I need to go the hospital!” for a very small abrasion that didn’t even bleed. ( I hope the neighbors were gone that day.)
6. “My mother just got out of prison.” ( Tweezers please!)
7. At Halloween, a little girl came to our house dressed as Satan, Ashi says, “I don’t think God appreciates your costume very much.” ( Okay, I was proud of her for saying that.)
8. Calling my Father-in-Law an old man, and also telling my Dad that “she doesn’t appreciate him rummaging through her stuffed animals!” (Sheesh Grandpa, rummaging!!)
9. “What’s a cookie?” asks my then-six-year-old, to every adult she met at the swimming pool last year. She’s talking about information stored on a computer’s hard drive and she knows what they are, she just wants to see if YOU know what they are. (dumbfounded 30, 40, 50…year olds)
10. The last time Ashi had a loose tooth I asked her to please give it to me when it came out so I could save it. She replied, “Okay.” Then she yanked the tooth out and handed it to me! ( Ugh! It wasn’t that loose!)
11. We homeschool and Ashi’s teachers are on her laptop. I asked, “are you answering your teacher’s questions?” She replies, “I’m questioning my teacher’s answers!”
12 I ask her, “Do you know where your blue headband is?” She matter-of-factly says,”It’s in California!” (We live in Kansas)
13. Ashi is very good at math and when she can see the answers without performing the work, she says, “I put my Math in my eye.”
14. Word contractions are very easy for her. She explains, “I performed surgery on the words and the apostrophe is the scar!”
15. We moved recently and have not yet put up Ashi’s trampoline, so she is jumping all over the furniture. I say, “Ashi, don’t jump all over the furniture.” She says, “Mom, I must use gravity!” ( well, okay then, since it’s gravity!?)
16.) I put up safety gates for baby brother, Izaiah. Ashi says, “Mommy, do we live in a gated community now?” ( That wasn’t in public, but is hilarious!)
I must admit that I am very proud of the things Ashi can say and there’s always some kind of true rationale behind it, at least to her and me. But, I do hate that feeling of always having to be on guard. So, if you are a parent who does not yet have the privilege of having your own personal autism circus, please do not judge the lady ahead of you in line at the checkout, pretend to read a magazine if you have to. Try to not draw conclusions about your neighbor even if her child barks like a dog and speaks of cages. Ask her about it first. No doubt she would love to fill you in! Keep in mind that many autists take ‘pictures’ in their minds of scenes from movies, books, websites, poetry, and they transform these into their own real life scenarios. So, when an autists says, “my mother just got out of prison,” just let your hackles down. You may get to hear an interesting story, or as in our case, get a poem recited by my-then-six year old. That will help put something odd into perspective for you.