Where a dad of two great kids (one on the autism spectrum) muses about life.
Friday, August 15, 2008
When Aspies Meet
So, our first full day in Yellowstone Park we went to visit Old Faithful geyser. We hung around for the 35 minutes or so until the next eruption, and secured ourself a front row seat so the kids would get a good view. Afterwards, when asked how he liked it Buddy Boy replied "I thought it would be bigger". He had seen it in videos before we left, and evidently a 100 foot (30 odd meters) tall plume of water with steam in person didn't measure up to what he thought he saw in the video. But still he liked it, and wanted to stick around until the next eruption.
We started walking around the large boardwalk that is in the general area of Old Faithful, and leads to a number of hot springs and other geyers. While we were walking, we passed another family group who had one young boy who was perhaps 10 years old or so. Buddy Boy walks up to him and says,
"Did you see Old Faithful?"
Other Boy (OB): "Yea, it was great. Did you see Castle Geyser? It's the one back there. It's even bigger."
Buddy Boy (BB): "Old Faithful will erupt again in about one hour."
(OB): "Castle Geyser only erupts once a day. You have to check the schedule at the ranger station. It already erupted today."
(BB): "The magma chamber must be close to the surface here. That water's really hot."
(OB): "The water's over 200 degrees."
(BB): "Only special types of bacteria and algae can live in the water."
(OB): "Castle Geyser is older than Old Faithful. You should check the sign by the building over there, so you can see it erupt next time."
(Voice from mother of Other Boy, who has walked about 100 feet farther down the walk with the rest of her family): "Jordan! We need to go."
(BB): "Wow, you're even smarter than me!" -----------------------------------------
Now, of course, I have no idea whether Jordan (the Other Boy) was on the spectrum or not. But I really enjoyed watching the brief exchange between these two young lads. They both appeared to genuinely enjoy talking to each other. Buddy Boy does not often hold down conversations with other people (though when he does, it usually involves topics of special interest). And whether or not Jordan was on the spectrum, there was much recognizable about him-his walk, his speech patterns, the way he kind of looked at Buddy Boy without really looking at him, etc.-that resonated with me and reminded me very much of Buddy Boy.
It was also kind of cool how Buddy Boy identified another person (whether randomly or not, I don't know) who shared his interest in geysers. Buddy Boy was even impressed enough with Jordan that he payed him the ultimate compliment ("You're even smarter than me!"). Buddy Boy always insists that he's smarter than I am.
Anyway, that's how we spent our first full day in Yellowstone.
Me- Joe, husband of a great wife, and dad to two great kids, who were both adopted at birth.
Liz- My ever understanding wife, who manages to wear many hats (mom, advocate, therapist, teacher) for our kids.
Buddy Boy- Born in 2000. Funny, intelligent, inventive, and autistic. Loves machines.
Sweet Pea- Born in 2002. Typical little sister. Competitive, outgoing, and smart. Loves anything pink.