There are some things about autism that are hard to live with.
It’s all relative because, let’s be honest, autism is hard to live with.
Let’s talk language and specifically, echolalia.
I’d never heard the word echolalia until
The Boy Child started working with a Speech Therapist a few years ago.
As he has made progress with language,
The Boy Child has built up a stockpile of phrases he can use
in response to a multitude of situations.
He doesn’t, however, always get it right.
He will know that a response is required from him
if he is to participate in a conversation.
But which is the right response?
On occasion, I can see his brain scrolling through
the memory file marked responses and I brace myself.
An example of when his choice of response is totally wide of the mark:
Little Friend: “Blah, blah, blah, shouldn’t we ask your Mum, blah, blah, blah.”
The Boy Child: “What? My stupid g*t of a mother?”
These words were uttered when we were at friends for supper.
There was a stunned silence and six sets of eyes swivelled round to look at me.
Now, both The Brainy One and I knew that particular line
came from a book by David Walliams.
But nobody else did.
Even though our friends completely get The Boy Child,
situations like that one are still embarrassing,
awkward and humiliating.
He doesn’t understand that words have power.
That they can hurt.
And that sometimes the situation might call for no words at all,
if you are unsure which words to call upon.