So, my mum says to little man while his having a “moment”
“You can’t just go around hitting anyone you fancy”
He had just lost his temper and hit out at his sister!
Little man replies, and with a temper I must add!
“Nanny your disgusting are you suggesting I fancy my own sister?”
It was one of those moments and mum couldn’t help but to laugh. However laughing was not on little man’s agenda!
“Don’t laugh at me nan” he screamed as he kicked the wall and throw himself on the floor.
You see, when talking to little man we have always tried to remember to put things in a way that is easy for him to grip a hold off and fully understand. Using metaphors and words that have two meanings can get confusing for little man, but over time he has learnt certain metaphors and their meanings (though this is mainly as a result of a past miscommunication).
Even though I am careful in how I speak to little man I’m also aware that I can’t be there all of the time and in actual fact, to some degree he needs these miscommunications In order to learn from them and go on to be successful in whatever it is he chooses to do in life.
Every time little man hears a certain metaphor we try our best to explain its true meaning to him! This doesn’t necessarily mean he understands it, or should I say… “Agrees” with it! His response will normally be something along the lines off… ‘Whats the point in that mum?’ or “Thats just stupid because why would anyone even have Skeletons in their closet?” Though, regardless of what he thinks about it, he will usually store the term along with its correct meaning for his own future reference.
My point is, and its an important one! That our children on the autism spectrum will find themselves in situations like this. If we forever try to wrap them up in cotton wool, insisting that those who speak to them do so in a totally unambiguous manner all of the time, then what happens ten, twenty years down the line when your child is at work in the office, and having been a little moody to a fellow colleague that colleague, jokingly tells them ‘Ok, Ok … Don’t get your knickers in a twist’ Things could be taken completely out of context. I can Imagine Little man’s reaction to such a term ,having no idea that it was in fact a turn of phase, he’d be inclined to tell him that he doesn’t wear knickers and if anything doesn’t much like wearing underpants either.
I’m not saying that when our children go of to school in the morning, the teachers looking after them, should greet them with some low life wise crack comment. Teachers should do their best not to confuse the child with their language but like us, their parents, teachers should be their to explain such metaphors when and if our children encounter them. Given we all use these silly little sayings so often, one or two are bound to slip out now and then from someone, somewhere along the line. But then isn’t better they hear them now rather when they are 25?
Don’t forget this month is Autism Awareness month and despite the need to raise awareness everyday, why not start with today and share something with your family and friends directing them to this post.