A Robot, A Scanner, A Scheduler
-You can’t call me by these names
Emotions Intact; Expression Lack.
This is all about my son Ujjwal; now 19+, great learner, good human being who shows unconditional love to us, who argues, creates amazing sketches, can be witty and humorous, yet does a few things in very specific way.
A Robot: Gives out or expects specific answer to the questions posed to or asked by him.
For example:- When we close a file on computer, the last window asks us to save, don’t save or cancel a document, he too has specific responses before ending a conversation and that is his point of satisfaction.
A robot is a man-made machine which follows the instructions fed, now perhaps with more options, follows order; prefers predictability but does it laugh or cry- no, it can’t judge through right or wrong; good or bad, sad or smiling.
A Scanner- Reading a text without any punctuation, colon, semi colon or full stop in a MONO TONE has been observed since the early childhood. Initially, it was difficult to understand as why he was not able to perform in his exams, later I understood the reason. It so happened on one occasion, I read the text to him and he could answer all questions correctly. So, what is it? Visual acuity right?
If I call him a scanner, he screams at me “ You can’t call me a scanner”. Then “OCR”. No you can’t call me that either. I am sure many parents and professionals will align with my thoughts, Having the MONO TONE in speech is a handicapping condition as it affects the process of learning to a large extent.
I wish if someone could suggest as where can we use this ability of reading like an OCR.
A Scheduler- Rigid or Orderly, Scheduler/ disciplined, one needs to analyse what we pick. Yes, predictability of future events makes life easy for my son too. I know that we parents go through this everyday. It was hard when he was younger and not understood by me but I brought in changes quite early in his life. I began giving a schedule to him only when he started understanding what I spoke to him.
I have always made sure that what I promised to him, completed or given to him. For eg- changing a route: I made it a point to show him the landmarks on the new route and when reached the familiar route he understood on his own that we were heading for the destination decided.
This developed faith and he allowed me to change his schedule.
Any routine task, given to him now is followed seriously by him. He is ten timer sincere than the normal typical people. He is accepting the changes quite easily, all he needs to know that he will complete his rescheduled routine at different time.
The reactive responses which arose in his younger years were indeed difficult. Now with the acquired language he has been able to argue and tell me that you cant call me by these names because we communicate all the time.
There is a comfort zone developed between us which allows him to express. But this does not happen with others. He hesitates. Some people do not even communicate. Just say Hi; How are you? Is not enough really!
One needs to make a rapport. In any human relationship, Communication is the key to sustain it. This applies to Autism too. A parent or a professional, a friend or a co worker should never talk to/ in front of the persons with Autism about them. Some, who are non verbal, also understand what is said to them or talked about them.
For me, as a mother, it was an eye opening statement when my son said “You can’t call me by these names”.
I end my thoughts by suggesting that Autism needs to be re explored.
It is indeed a phenomenon having “Emotions Intact; Expressions Lack”.