From an adorable story repeat to cursing...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Autismkids, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. Autismkids

    Autismkids Member

    Sometimes I forget that my little man is still just 5 years old.

    A little while ago, he repeated the first few lines in a book we read all the time. "Please let me be, please go away. I am NOT going to get up today." It was beyond adorable, and was the first time he's ever done this.

    My daughter asked what book that was from, and his response is "shut up *****hole."

    How does he flip from being an adorable kindergarten baby, to a nasty teenager in a split second?!?!

  2. maxeygirls

    maxeygirls New Member

    Ok so I was nursing easy child when I read that, poor baby almost got shaken to death I laughed so hard.
    I wonder if it doesnt have to do with how incredibly smart most difficult children are and the fact that with everything they have to handle sometimes they've just hit overload?
    I notice that when my difficult child does something new and amazing if I ask her about it, even just where she learned it she can get pretty confrontational.
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Have no fear, it's not teenspeak. It's the same little echo chamber that produced the earlier statement.

    This is something we had to take into account constantly when difficult child 3 began to make sense when he talked. The first "sense" he made was very echolalic and at times very embarrassing. When I think back, I realise it was an amazing feat of memory, to do what he did - he had no real language at the time but he did have the capacity to memorise large amounts of text from songs he'd heard on the radio, or large chunks of text from movies. With the movies, he was reading the text from subtitles and so what he said was learned from reading (and therefore often easier to understand). But songs on the radio - he never saw the lyrics written down. But he was able to memorise a complete song plus the included more obvious sound effects/instrumental line which to his mind had equal importance and meaning to the words. Once these things were in his memory, he trotted them out frequently. In the same way a baby babbles apparently in conversation (you speak, baby pauses; you pause, baby babbles) difficult child 3 would often respond to a question with repetition or chunks of movie text/book text/song lyrics.
    Imagine our frequent embarrassment when he would sing in public, "I'm a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world... You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere... Make me walk, make me talk, do whatever you please, I can act like a star I can beg on my knees..."
    I mean, those lyrics were so suggestive when sung by a small boy! He picked it up off the car radio, that song was top of the charts in Australia for months when difficult child 3 was a pre-schooler.

    When you have a young autistic kid just beginning to develop his language, you have your own potentially embarrassing tape recorder. You REALLY have to watch what is said around them (and not just what you say - other people can be careless plus these kids pick it up FAST!). Also, it's much more difficult to break a habit - once the wrong thing is learned, often the kid can't follow an explanation to not use it. All you can do is pause and re-educate. You stop him and calmly say, "Honey, we don't say that. Instead, you should say this..."

    One thing to remember - your child wants to be normal. He is trying to socialise appropriately. The trouble is, he is trying to work out for himself what the appropriate rules are, for socialising. So can you think - where did the "Shut up A***hole!" come from? Where did he hear it? Was it an ad on TV? A TV show? A cartoon? A drama series he has seen/heard? A movie or computer game he witnessed? Or did someone in his environment say it? You do need to find out so you can correct this and perhaps limit his exposure to tat source for a while (or chastise the source!).

    We got a note home from difficult child 3's teacher when he was in Grade 4 - she wrote, "You must stop your son from calling his classmates bad names. How will he ever make friends if he calls another kid 'fa*g*t retard?' He must be taught that such language is inappropriate!"
    That teacher totally missed the point. She is actually a neighbour of ours, had known our family well since before either of us had kids, and MUST have known that difficult child 3 did not hear words like that in our home. I wrote back and said to her, "Take note of the specific words chosen. Do they sound like words he heard at home? Now consider who would be the subject of such an insult - actually, someone like difficult child 3 would be perhaps the most common target in the class, since it is well known that there is a large group of boys in his class who are bullies and who have never accepted him. They consider friendship with him to be an embarrassment and will do their utmost to make him stay away. These boys regularly use insults relating to homosexuality, as the worst possible insult to another male. Such a word means nothing to difficult child 3 who simply doesn't understand its meaning. And the 'retard' label - these boys have applied tat word to difficult child 3 before. They call him names designed to hurt, and so it's natural that if he wants to hurt them back, he will use the same words and the same actions. Please do not criticise us, for your failure to keep our son safe form being called such nasty names."

    The worrying thing - her own son was one of those bullies. Not the worst one, though. I know her son wouldn't have heard tat term in their home either.

    By that stage difficult child 3 was not only old enough, but capable enough, for me to explain what the two words in that term meant. Especially the "retard" label - he's copped tat word a great deal in the village, he still gets it from a kid down the road (younger brother of former bully classmate). Once I explained to difficult child 3 that in no way could the "retard" label describe someone like him with an IQ in the genius level, he relaxed a lot. I explained how some kids often throw out the same labels they secretly fear are true about themselves; one boy who used to upset difficult child 1 by calling him "retard" was actually needing remedial coaching with his schoolwork, and this was his way of trying to make himself feel better, by trying to make others feel even worse about themselves. Very sad.

    We have done our best to keep our kids aware of their autism, but not seeing it as a handicap. Autism does make some tasks a little more difficult but it also colours our lives and brings unexpected gifts and joys.

    A last word - difficult child 3's speech pathologist is now a very close friend of ours. her daughter is 11 years old and has been firm friends with difficult child 3 since they met. She is also an exceptionally bright, talented child. She also has a very high social intelligence (sometimes I think higher than her mother's).
    Very soon after he first met this girl, difficult child 3 said to the mother, "Is your daughter autistic?"
    The mother was taken aback. "No, of course she isn't!" she said. "Why do you ask?"
    "Because she's really so smart," difficult child 3 replied. He saw his autism as a gift of high intelligence, REALLY high intelligence.
    He now understands that some people can be as intelligent as he is, but not have autism.

    But the human tape recorder - I think you have reached that point where you need to wrap your vulnerable son in noise protectors or some other form of protection from undesirable words in his environment.

    We did our best with this, as I said before, by gently stopping him and then giving him other words to replace it with. We also asked where he heard it from and did our best to discredit that source as any kind of authority.

    Good luck!