Adventures in Autistic Parenthood

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bad Guys! /Language Barrier:

     The other day, David came home on the bus with something clipped to the collar of his shirt. He was very excited and nearly drove me to my knees running down the bus steps (I'm twice his size). While I was trying to clear the cobwebs and regaining my balance Dave was already bending my ear about being a deputy and trying to show me his collar. Attached to said collar was a gold colored, shield-shaped piece of plastic with the very official sounding, 'Official (see?) Junior Deputy-- Beaver County Sheriff's Office. I said, 'Wow! Junior Deputy, huh?' He replied, loudly and enthusiastically, 'Yes! He's (I'm) the new Deputy!'

'Very cool! Does that mean you're going to arrest somebody?' He kind of shocked me by saying, 'Yes! Gonna get them!'. 'Uhh, who are you going to arrest?' (no one's concience is completely clear) This made him pause for only a second. 'Gonna arrest the BAD GUYS!!' He then ran into the house, turning twice to show me his badge.
   Raine and Dude have had some 'issues' during the past couple of weeks, and Dave doesn't get this excited about much outside of his video games, so I thought I'd give Raine a kick and let her in on it. So I texted her at work to prime her for when she got home. When she arrived and went upstairs to the room David was playing his games as if nothing happened, and when she asked him about it, he couldn't even find the badge! Oh well, I guess he figured the only 'Bad Guy' he knew was the same one that provided the Wendy's and GameStop adventures and would probably have trouble doing that from 'Junior Jail'.

Bad Guys behind bars!

    It always amazes (and annoys) me  when people who ought to know better still expect Dude to act like a 'normal' teen. It's come up a couple of times in the last couple of weeks that David is cursing. Now I realize that some people have a problem with foul language, and for the most part I can respect that, and when it does happen that David has said a word or phrase out in public that isn't necessarily socially acceptable, I try to make certain that the 'offended' person hears me curbing his tendency to take the language to its Anglo-Saxon roots. Those aren't the people that bother me all that much, although I'd think they ought to grow up a bit. Especially the ones who I know don't do a damn thing when their own (much younger) typical children curse at them!
   But, be that as it may, the ones that really make me want to grab my rifle and start looking for a clock tower are the people that ought to know better. It's kind of ridiculous to expect social graces from a kid with ASD. The definition of autism as given by the National Library of Medicine: Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life, and affects the brain's normal development of social and communication skills. Social and communication skills. Sounds like understanding 'apropriate language' to me. You'd think that people who deal with atypical kids every day for their job would at least have some idea of what they're dealing with, wouldn't you? But nooooo!
    I like to watch hockey,(don't worry, not as random as it sounds) and currently the Pittsburgh Penguins have a goaltender named Marc-Andre Fleury, who is from Sorel, Quebec, and grew up speaking only French. He didn't start learning English until he was somewhere around High School age. So basically, he learned English from a bunch of hockey players in a locker room. Let's just say that guys in a locker room use words in the course of normal conversation that would make little old ladies in tea rooms fall off their chairs. Now, other than the fact that he grew up in Canada, Fleury, or Flower as he's called, has no disabilities. He just grew up without learning the social stigma attached to these words. So if during an interview on National Television he occasionally blurts out a word that should have been bleeped, it's understandable. He has no idea what these words mean socially. (keep going, it'll make sense in a minute)
    Dave learned to speak from two sources. Only one of which was sometimes censored.  He's not 'talking', he's replaying the game/movie in his head, and it just happens to be coming out of his mouth. Sometimes his words sound relevant, but he doesn't actually understand what he's saying, let alone what you're saying to him most of the time. So if he says, "Man, I bet she gives great Helmet!", he's not speaking to the sexual proclivities of the checkout girl, he's reciting from Spaceballs. And it seems to mean that the woman was being particularly helpful. If, on the other hand, he says, 'Uhhh, I bet this is what a chick feels like!', he's not being a chauvinistic pig, he's just disappointed at being kept from doing whatever it was he wanted to do. And if, in the middle of class, he says, 'I think you need to KILL the son-of-a-bitch!'... okay, that's a new one that he's never used at home, so I'm not sure what it means. But somewhere in the activities of the class he's made a correlation to an event in one of his 3 teen/adult rated games. (remember he's 16 years old, Banjo Kazooie and Fairly Odd-Parents, just aren't going to do it forever)
    The last example was related to me by one of his former aides, Ashley. I'm not absolutely certain of the circumstances, but it seems that during a raucous time in a classroom some discussion was given about the discipline to be meted out to one of the other boys. Dude piped in with his (no doubt helpful, but thankfully ignored) advice, which was greeted by mixed horror and humor by the aides and teachers in the immediate area. Humor ultimately won out, and I wasn't immediately air-flighted in to wash his mouth out with soap. As a matter of fact, I didn't hear anything at all about it until Special Olympics, several weeks later.
This is Mrs Jacobs (I fervently hope I got the name right)
She's one of the 'Good Guys' and a SLJ  'kid wrangler'
I mistakenly left her off the last blog
Bad Blogger! No Donut!!!
    On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is the bus-aide, or, as we like to call her, The Wacko Bus Nazi. (we really need to pare that down a bit) This is a woman who's been the helper on David's bus for most of the last 8 years. During that time she's been through somewhere between 7 and 10 bus drivers. I initially thought this was a mark of her dedication to needs of the special kids, and that there was a large turnover in bus-drivers. I've since learned that only one of those drivers retired and the rest just transferred to different routs to get away from her. She's complained about Dude's language a number of times, without reciting any examples (even by inference), but she always leaves the impression that she's morally offended for some reason.
   (Nixon voice) Let me make one thing perfectly clear, Dude is not a potty-mouth! Curse words mean NOTHING to David. David doesn't 'converse' in any significant way, about anything. Conversation is a process of verbal give and take. Dude has half of that. He's the reverse of the IRS, he's all give and no take.The words coming out of his mouth are put in there by some form of media, and ejected by some sort of random number generator built into his brain by French Canadian hockey players. (See? I told you it would tie together) Expecting an asocial kid to 'fit' into typical society makes about as much sense as me expecting random people off the street to fit into his world.... ain't gonna happen.

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