Friday, 13 May 2011

Where Do I Come From?

Sex education...  my goodness.  I'm so not ready for this.  It's a delicate discussion even with a "neurotypical child," but not having autism myself (at least not diagnosed by a doctor, but sometimes I wonder...), I'm not sure how to approach this one...  So any suggestions, please, I'm begging you, feel free to share you input!!!  I don't want to blow this and traumatize him either, but it is a valid question which requires an answer.  My dilema?  You see, Dayton and I communicate most effectively through me having to draw pictures for him to "get it," as he thinks in pictures.  This is not an uncommon style of communicating among children with autism, but I just can't draw a picture of this, you know what I mean?

I've got this horror of ending up like the woman in the old joke who was asked by her child where he came from, and after she explained the technical process in a well chosen medical vocabulary, (seeing as this is part of what I have to teach my college students, I can't help but wonder if I'll end up doing the same) the  boy looked at his mom intently and said, "I just wondered, because Mike came form Hartford, Connecticut."

This may be a joke to us, but really, this is exactly how a person on the autism spectrum thinks.  They're literal...

So, when Dayton came to me and asked me... I blew it...  Royally...  and now I need to fix it.  Remember, Dayton may be 9 years old chronologically, but let's not forget his delays, which you can easily say he's 2 years behind.  Emotionally, he's more a of a five to six year old.  I don't think I stood a chance of not blowing it...  I also keep forgetting about Dayton taking things literally...

So Dayton came to me and came out with the question.  "Where was I before I was born?"  I tell him nowhere.  The word nowhere is an abstract word for most children on the autism spectrum, and so I could see he was getting frustrated trying to understand, so quickly I say, "well actually babe, you've always been in my heart, and always will be, my love."  His face turned less frustrated, but still frustrated...  OK, I'm thinking I'm making progress, but then he asks me "where am I now?"  "Babe, you're right here, standing right beside me."

He seemed to be getting a wee bit more confused...  I didn't know what to do, I can't read his thoughts, and as a mom, I want to get the right band aid for his auwee..  Finally, finally he spins on his heel to look at me, and says with a straight, determined face...  "I like being beside you, but let's tell the doctor not to open your chest to put me back in your heart.  Deal?"

Holly crap.  Literal thinking.  It took my breath away.  See, it's not like this is a constant with Dayton.  Some days he's like a regular kid, and then others...  It's like he's menstruating or something...  Or maybe it's me, some days more aware than others...  If it was constant, I'd probably not forget the literal thinking, but it's just not that simple...  

Hey, it got me off the hook for now!  I was able to distract him off his true question.  So yeah, I took the deal!!!

Again, any ideas, I'm all ears!!!

Consider yourselves hugged,


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