Twelve years ago, I wrote this:
“You can NEVER be too specific:
While learning “grocery shopping” in the classroom; his plastic cart full of plastic food… he was told that it was time to “put everything on the counter to pay” – Instead of taking the food out of the cart, he lifted the entire cart onto the counter!”
“When you tell your child to pull his sweat pants down over his socks and he proceeds to PULL HIS PANTS DOWN from the waist to his ankles – You know you were not specific enough with your request.”
And a few years later, this:
My son loves to write little “stories” (he thinks they are stories, but they are usually just one line).
I had been home from work for a few days with the “Flu”. It really didn’t occur to me that he had no idea what the “Flu” was and I wondered why he would laugh each time I mentioned it. He decided he would write one of his one-line “stories” for me to make me feel better ……
“Mom was so high”
It took me a few minutes…… but then I realized he thought I “Flew”
- Then there was the time I said “Now listen closely” and he stuck his face one inch from mine…..
- He laughed for about a week after I told him it was time to “hit the road”.
- Or.. after the third round of kids whacked the piñata at his camp Halloween party, the Director said “Okay, DC, lets’ see you to tear it up” – he yanked it down and ripped it apart with his hands.
There are so many other examples, but these few really stick in my head.
Needless to say, like many people with autism, DC takes everything literally. Over the years, I have gotten much better at recognizing when something is said or read that taken literally will not make much sense to him. I always try to stop and explain what it means in that context, whether he asks or not.
He has made a great deal of progress in that area as well. He knows that the “flu” does not mean “flying”. He gets that “hit the road” means we have to get going. But he knows these things because they were explained to him, he is not able just figure it out himself – how could he?
Knowing this about my son, I suppose, when I told him to “walk slowly” on the sidewalk just in case there was ice (there wasn’t), I should have expected this: