Saturday, June 16, 2007

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

photo credit- Shaun.numb

So, Liz was walking thru the local mall the other day, and they passed the central fountain (which has always been a big hit with Buddy Boy since he was at least 6 months old-even after sitting there watching it for 30 minutes he would scream when we left it). On this day the fountain was spewing pink water (which was just fine with Sweet Pea, as she loves anything pink).

The pink water was a marketing thing for the Susan G. Komen race for the cure event that is coming to our town soon. In explaining the event to Buddy Boy, she explained that everyone doesn't always run, and that many walk, much like the "Autism Walk" that we have taken part in in the past. Well Buddy Boy put together the notions of "curing breast cancer" and "autism walk" together in his brain right away, and even though Liz never said anything about curing autism, he said,

"I don't want to be cured. I'm not sick."

He then seemed to infer that the Autism Walk money might be used to "cure" autism, because he stated,

"If we go on the Autism Walk again, we can just take their money. I am not sick."

Later, when Liz was in the car with the kids, listening to the same National Public Radio (NPR) story on autism that Autism Diva was, one of the participants referred to autism as a disease. Immediately Buddy Boy piped up from the back seat,

"It's not a disease!"

Liz agreed, saying that autism is actually a disorder, to which Buddy Boy responded,

"It's not a disorder, either! Autism makes me special!"

To which Liz could only agree.

Now I know that what a 7 year old puts forth as his opinion cannot be reliably said to be his opinion alone. Certainly a lot of what he says are just things he's heard. But while we certainly try to keep a positive spin on autism, we don't usually discuss autism politics or controversies in front of him (we're much more focused on discussing things like the proper channeling of aggression). So when I heard this I was glad that Buddy Boy had what I considered a very healthy view of things, and seemed to be integrating his own feelings on the subject with things he's heard from us and others. On top of that, all I can say is,

"That's my boy!"


VAB said...

Wow! Excellent! Our guy does really identify himself as autistic . Just today he asked, "What my disability again?" But if and when he does, I hope he takes Buddy Boy's attitude. As a matter of fact, I'm going to steal "Autism makes [you] special," for the next time it comes up.

Camille said...

Smart boy! :-)

kristina said...

Buddy Boy on NPR......the next campaign.....

Bev said...

Well said, Buddy Boy! It's great to see a positive perspective like this from such a young age.

Please note that Toys 'R Us is a major sponsor for these cure walks.
Ask your Dad to get your stuff someplace else!

Anonymous said...

Wow! TJ is now just beginning to understand he is autistic. He doesn't yet fully understand what that means, I don't think. To make the connection between the two events and come up with his perspective on it, that is so neat!Yea Buddy Boy!

Joeymom said...

Toys R Us doesn't have a good selection of real toys, anyway. They're all ads.

Way to go, Buddy Boy!

Daisy said...

Buddy Boy -- an articulate self-advocate. He is truly a poster child for autism in a very positive way. You must be very proud of his confidence and self-esteem!

kristi said...

So cool!

Melissa H said...

I LOVE this post.

Anonymous said...

It is pretty cool that Buddy Boy can talk and write. Did you teach him those skills or did he learn them all on his own?

Club 166 said...

Thanks, everyone.

There have been a couple of occasions in the past when Buddy Boy voiced that he hated being autistic. At the time he seemed to blame anything he was frustrated about on being autistic. I guess that is one of the reasons that I was really glad when this happened, as it seemed to show that Buddy Boy's image of himself as autistic had improved.

We've tried telling him that being autistic means his brain thinks differently sometimes, but that everyone has something that is different about them. Autism is just the name of how he is different.

We've also tried to point out some of the good things about being autistic (like maybe it is the reason he is also so smart about a lot of things). Finally, we also try to reinforce the fact that we are a family, and all members of families have troubles from time to time, and when they do, the other members of the family are their to help them.

In regards Buddy Boy being verbal and being able to write, those are not significant issues at the present time. He was late to speak, and has had speech therapy since before he was three. Often his speech is indistinguishable from typical peers. Most of the time what you notice is that it's the speech patterns that are atypical, and not the speech itself. He still uses a lot of "scripts" that he has picked up from movies and TV shows and commercials, though less than he used to. And like many autistics, he has trouble picking up on the "social cues" in conversations.

As to his writing, his spelling is usually above par as compared to his peers (despite the "grils" in the sidebar). His writing skills are a bit sub par, and his penmanship is below the quality of his sister, who is 2 years younger at 5 years old. But we work on that, too, both in school as well as at home.


Bev said...

Question for Buddy Boy:

Does the sign on the door apply to robot girls? Just wondering...