I get to learn something new from my kids everyday. Today Mr. C told me he wished magic was real, Little Miss A taught me that she can’t nurse her baby doll but she was willing to let me nurse her, and Mr. L thinks some old people are sweaty and weird.
For the record my husband and I don’t call the elderly weird or sweaty which makes what he told me even funnier. Today my oldest came up to me with a faked deep concerned look on his face when he said dramatically, “My daughter is a blue berry! And I’m getting old, sweaty and weird!”
I know some kids on the spectrum do this thing called scripting, where they repeat things they hear from other places like from people they know, songs, books, and especially movies. They do this for many different reasons because they are unique individuals- which means NOT everyone who has been diagnosed with autism uses scripting as a form of communication. But some do for reasons like; just wanting to say words just for the sake of talking, others because they want to express their thoughts or opinions with others, and some, like my son use it as a way to communicate an idea with us, or because he thought what he heard was hilarious and wanted to share the joke with us.
Honestly though, I don’t think it was entirely scripting because I haven’t heard it from anywhere. But even if it was from something he heard, he obviously picked it up for a reason, either because he wanted to share his feelings with us with how he feels about those especially past middle age, or because he found it chucklesome and the fact that he made it come out of nowhere made it funny for us to hear. Since then he has been saying it occasionally, without the “Blue berry daughter” part, and his little brother still finds it hilarious.
I can see how things Mr. L says can come off offensive. He doesn’t mean to be rude, he is simply pointing out the world around him and trying to share what he sees with others. He also has a desire to have conversations with people, but the basic back and forth of small talk isn’t a concept he is interested in understanding just yet. So instead of small talk, he may tell the unfamiliar neighbor about a specific train without asking if they would be interested in learning about steam locomotives. And he might inform a teacher that her hair is in-between hair appointments by telling her it is turning grey as his way of saying, “Good morning, you are a friendly, familiar person that makes me feel safe, and I want you to know that I see you and am pleased to chat with you”.
People on the spectrum can be very blunt but very rarely have I ever heard of anyone on the spectrum doing it because they wanted to be rude. It’s a social norm that doesn’t come easy to everyone. Heck I know people who are not on the spectrum who are often blunt, who also don’t have the social etiquette to realize they may be offending those they care about. This tends to be a common thing though for those with autism.
There are so many layers to human communication: body language, physical appropriate distance, being able to read the feeling of the room, or reading between the lines… But then you add in things like eye contact, vocabulary, being able to think outside of yourself (like would others find this topic interesting also?), timing, and spacial concepts (like how was your weekend?) and avoiding being blunt starts to really fall in its position of importance when trying to make contact with the other humans on this earth. Do you see how complicated something as simple as, “Go ask those kids if you can play too?” can be a daunting task? Or even, “What is your favorite holiday?”.
I guess what I’m saying is, thank you to those who don’t know Mr. L and smile awkwardly when he attempts to talk to you, but you don’t understand his thought process. Thank you to those who get to know him, give him a chance, and then learn how funny he is. And here is the warning to those who aren’t mature enough to be patient and choose to get upset with my kid when his bluntness is all you choose to see, instead of the sweet kid who mis-stepped his words when trying to talk to you… I’m ready to defend him, and make you far more uncomfortable than you tried on him. It’s happened before, and I don’t mind scaring off full grown adults 😙✌️
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