DC called me from his van to tell me he is “Going Home Noooowwwww” as he does each day. The conversation is always the same (and I know you have read this before as he rarely goes “off script”)

DC: Hi Mom

ME: What are you doing?

DC: Going Home Noooooowwwww

ME: Did you have a good day?

DC: Great

ME: What did you do today?

DC: Dog Bones Room

ME: What did you do?

DC: Rolling the dough.

ME: Anything else?

(Usually the answer is “no”)

DC: Tied the bows

(I imagine this means he packaged the dog biscuits)

ME: Oh, that’s cool. Okay call me when you get home.


ME: What money?

DC: We forgot the money for lunch.

ME: (knowing that he had enough money for lunch) What do you mean? Did you pay for your lunch?

DC: Yes.

ME: Are you sure?

DC: No.

ME: Did you have money for lunch?


ME: DC, what happened to the money you had?


ME: Did you pay for your lunch?


ME: Are you telling me that you need more money for next week?

DC: Yes!

ME: Don’t worry, I will give you more money for lunch next week, like always.

DC: Next week.

ME: Are you sure you paid for your lunch today?

DC: Yes! Have to go to the money machine.

I still have not determined whether he paid for his lunch or not but his wallet was empty and there was no note from the staff.

As you already know, communication is always difficult for DC. This is the way he communicates and I usually have to figure out what he really means.

We’ll start with notes from the staff:

When DC began attending this program, he did not receive a receipt for the lunch he purchased every day. Apparently they did not give receipts (it is a restaurant open to the public so I don’t know why that was the policy).

One day, probably a year in,  he came home with a photo copy of a guest check in his talk-book.

Nothing else.

No note.

Just a copy of a guest check.

Great, I thought. They started giving receipts.

The next day he came home with a copy of a guest check and an envelope that had “DC’s change from lunch today” in his talk book.

Nothing else.

No note.

Just the guest check and the envelope.

I didn’t know why they were sending his change home in an envelope instead of putting it in his wallet (I still don’t) but assumed that he had forgotten to take it at lunch time and they put it in an envelope to make sure he got it later.

The following day I received a rather nasty note informing me that DC did not pay for his lunch two days before. I asked them just how a person was supposed to know that? (DC was not as conscientious about his lunch money back then). They sent a guest check home WITH an envelope of change, who would come to the conclusion that he did not pay for his lunch. Apparently after attending this program for over a year, they hadn’t figured out that DC does not tell me anything. They Have to tell me.

Moving on to the money: Back then he was new at carrying money, so I only gave him enough for lunch that day. Sure, there were a few times when I forgot. Now that I know he won’t lose it, I give him 20.00 for the week. His lunch is 3.73 per day so I knew he had enough. Not to mention that over the last few years he counts it every night and says “Yay! I have _____ dollars left” so I can I tell him that it is enough for the rest of the week. (We will talk about his money counting skills at another time)

“I forgot” or “We forgot”: This does not necessarily mean that we forgot something (but sometimes it does). Some of the time when he says “I forgot” or “We forgot”, it means that he wants to do whatever he is saying we forgot.

“I forgot to buy band-aids” usually means that he wants to buy band-aids.

Just as “I can’t find ______, anywhere” usually means that he is going to get whatever he says he can’t find.

“I can’t find my CD anywhere” means he is going to get a CD for the car.

But, there are times when he really can’t find something.

It’s hard to know which is which.

(He can communicate what he wants most of the time, but it is difficult for him to tell me about something that has happened or something that is bothering him or anything other than his wants.)

I can only assume that he was worried about having zero bills in his wallet. Normally they use the bills and the change to pay for his lunch so at the end of the week, he comes home with a dollar bill or two in his wallet. This week they must not have bothered with the change and just used the bills every day. There were no bills left and he was nervous about that.

I suppose I will find out next week if for some reason he did not pay for his lunch, but in the meantime we will be heading for “The Money Machine” so he is all set for next week.



For anyone that might be new here: “I tell stories, most of the time; single individual stories about this or that. Some may be written with humor and some may come across as “Oh, look at the cute thing DC did or said” (he does crack me up at times) but my object is always to make people understand how his mind works, never to “make fun of him”

It is difficult to explain “his” autism to anyone without resorting to 1000 examples and 1000 stories. So I tell 1000 stories to make clear that there are other sides to autism than the characters seen in TV or movies.”


  1. He says the same things as Colin with the same meanings. How odd. Colin: We forgot to get special k red berries cereal! Which means “buy some now mom”. I love love love this blog. It is my favorite.


    • Thank you! Yes, the “we forgot” is odd. Or when he’s going to see his friend or family member he will start telling me “I miss my grandmother” which is his way of saying and reminding me that he will be seeing his grandmother (or whomever) – it’s not really about missing them, it’s more of a conversation starter.


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