Autism and going out in public Day 3 - kids say the darndest thing. they also say things like F*%k.

this kid wants to say F*%k. I can tell.
*This post is part of my Autism Awareness Month series. If you would like read more like this, Click Here.

Let me tell you about a time that my son Noah said something embarrassing in public. It was about 5:30am. Noah and I were at the grocery store - not really because we needed anything, but this kept us (him) from waking up the rest of the house too early. He had been awake since 4am.

We are in the check out line and I notice the person a rather old looking fellow standing in line before us just a moment too late.

"That person is really old!"

"Shhhh. You don't say those kinds of things out loud. It isn't nice."

"Isn't he old though?" Not talking any quieter.

"Yes, but isn't polite to speak that way about others."

"How does get so old?" This time I think it was even louder.

". . ."

This isn't an experience privy only to parents who have children with autism, but eventually, kids learn that it isn't socially acceptable to comment about things that are different about other people in a loud, publicly intrusive way. Autism, though, seems to prevent a child's ability to filter or even understand what inappropriate means (if they are fortunate enough to even have speech at all). So while this humorous exchange is fun to re-tell at a family bbq, it is frustrating as well to know that 5 years from now he'll likely have the same problem.

On another occasion, our entire family headed over to the bookstore after church and after an almost successful venture, we headed to the check out line. Here is where I developed my theory that while children with autism often enjoy staring off into space or zoning out in general, autism and waiting for things in a line are counter-intuitive to that idea. It seems that when combined, these two things cause the world to spin backwards.

At the moment we stood in line, Noah began declaring items at the impulse shopping counter that he wanted. When he was told no, he immediatly let out a loud

"F*%kin Dad!"

Let that sit with you for a minute.

I'm not going to get into where he heard this word (me) but I would like to hear from other parents who have had similar instances with their autistic children in public. What happened and how did you handle it?

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SV said...

I haven't had the swearing from my son yet, but this is pretty scary: When my ASD son was 5 we were working on getting him to memorize his address and phone number. One day at lunch in a rather sketchy diner, a rather sketchy man asked my son's therapist what her name was. She ignored him but my son didn't bat and eye and quickly yelled out his name, address and phone number. Needless to say, I made sure the doors were locked tight from then on and we quickly started a therapy goal of when to give out personal information and when not to.

My son also always makes comments to people's faces about them being old, fat, short, etc. I always have to pick my jaw up off the floor when these things come out of his mouth, apologize and then find the nearest exit.

Great posts this month! Your perspective on parenting a child with autism is both entertaining and informative. Thanks!

Chase Roper said...

Yikes! We haven't tried to teach Noah this info yet, but I can't imagine what kind of debacle we'll get into once we do.

Also, I'd like to apologize to everyone for my phrasing of "autistic child" instead of the more preferred "ASD child." You don't even want to know what I refer to him as under my breath in the sanctity of my own home. I love him though!!

SV said...

Made me laugh - I think people tend to get a little too hung up on how we refer to our kids. I don't give a rats A$$ what people label him. He's a fantastic kid whether he's autistic, ASD, living with autism, etc. He's still the same kid and I'm not a politically correct type.

Forgot to mention - tell your wife her guest post was fantastic.

Danica said...

This is the one blessing in disguise with a non-verbal kiddo!!!