“You know one thing I know about C is that he is always listening ... we went back to my mother’s house and he told me all the time when he was 3 and I was reading him a book .. What that book was .. what the story was..The funny thing is I remembered that day clearly as well .. I was just thinking in despair how he was sitting there just like a lump on a log”
One of my friends is giving me this great advice- we have met for lunch at Romano’s. This is a year ago
She is a friend I met at a local Autism support group and we just hit it off. Of course since we both are working moms with kids with special needs – we have basically met once in the past two years.( though of course we keep wondering why we don’t meet more often – I seem to have such a plethora of wonderful people in my life that I cannot find the time to really connect with – I suppose its better than the opposite alternative )
I made a mental note of this very good advice.
Many adult auties have expressed this same wish.
They have talked about how much it bothered them that their parents spoke about them – and their worries about them – in front of them.
Unfortunately I seem to be one of those people destined to learn from my own mistakes – rather than learning from others
As R’s receptive language was a long time in coming I thought that this must not be true for him!
Then a few months ago I taped a therapy session.
When I was going through the recording (by profession I am a researcher )- I automatically switched into researcher mode and started paying attention not only to his enunciation – but to his body language
Heart sinking – I realized that he his entire body language would change – each time I said something bad – expressed some worry
When I said something good – he would perk up and would be able to say the next thing better.
With remorse I thought back to all the times when I discussed him - in front of him
Slowly I am coming to realize that even in the situations where he is CLEARLY doing something else – he is STILL paying attention when anything relevant to him comes up( the way we are able to pick out our name in the airport in the din of announcements- but filter everything else out)
Yesterday as we were out in the front yard – and Mrs C and J stopped by to chat- R ran away to explore whether the red berries in the bush were skittles or not.
Mrs C asked if R was liking the Fall leaves .
I replied that his Dad has made a pile of leaves at the end of our backyard
R swung into action – picked up DH’s rake and jumped into the pile
The other day when a friend gave him a dinosaur which he ignored – I saw him a minute later – researching dinosaurs on the internet!
Now that I am paying attention - I notice how much attention he is paying
Hopefully some mum or dad is reading this and making a note to be careful of the worry they express in front of their children.
Words can wound deeply and our children are so sensitive
It really is best to presume intellect and to presume comprehension.
And to speak softly because someone is listening