Thursday, September 8, 2011

Things on Thursday: A Conversation

My expected Things on Thursday post has been pre-empted by a particularly important conversation I had with my son this morning as we walked to the bus stop.

Jack (very matter-of-fact): Yesterday, a boy was mean to me on the bus.

Me: Oh. Who was mean to you?

Jack: Ben.*

Me: The Ben at our bus stop?

Jack: Yes.

Me: What did he do?

Jack (still very matter-of-fact): He squished me so there was no room for me on the seat.

Me: Oh. What did you do?

Jack: I told the bus driver. She said she would talk to him.

Me: Jack, that was the right thing to do. I'm so proud of you.

Jack (thrilled): Thanks, Mom!

On the surface, this is a rather ordinary conversation between mom and son, but Jack has autism, which made the ease and simplicity of this exchange rather, well, shocking. He answered all my questions directly and clearly. He stayed on topic, without a single odd noise or movie line or memorized speech. He didn't flap his hand, make funny faces, or repeat himself either.

For those of you who've never tried to get information out of a child with autism, please believe me when I say that this conversation was a miracle.

As an added bonus, his response to the squishing was completely correct and appropriate given his age and the age of the squisher.

Now, if I could only get him to tell me one thing--just one blessed little thing--he did in school today....

*Name changed


  1. Awesome conversation! School must be going well, or you'd know something either from Jack or the teacher! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. That's a great conversation! Hearing about what happens at school? I'm not sure there are ANY kids who say much about that topic, LOL!

  3. Rejoicing with you!

  4. Susan, Your conversation simply makes my heart swell for you. Wonderful!

  5. That is amazing! Wow! I'm so glad you were able to have your son for a brief conversation. What a miraculous blessing. :) I work with children with severe mental disabilities and this truly is awesome!

  6. Yahoo Jack! This is huge :) It's so hard to prepare them well for these sorts of things - Connor (12, asd) is always misinterpreting things as bullying. He told me "some kids bullied me at school by scaring me." I asked him how, and he said "they banged the desks together by accident, and made a really big noise and I jumped." I fear he'll be the boy who cried wolf if that keeps up!

  7. Miracles DO happen every day!

  8. What a marvellously competent conversation. I bet you were so proud of him.
    As for him remembering what he did at school then forget it! Whenever we ask our grandchildren - ages ranging from 3 - 6 - what they did at kindergarten/school they always say "Nothing". Joe, the youngest one will tell me what he didn't do though. I think that as soon as school ends they hit the delete button :)

  9. That's fabulous! I work with kids on the spectrum and have a nephew who is autistic. I can truly appreciate the miracle of "typical" conversation. As far as getting info about school...when my teen boys were younger, I used to trick them into talking about school with things like "Tell me who had the grossest lunch." or "Who farted in class?" Not the classiest intro into a conversation about school, but it reached their little boy brains, got them laughing and every now and then led to at least one thing that happened at school.

  10. Wow, Linda. That's brilliant! Will give it a try!

  11. OMG!!! If anyone hears you it is me.... I would love for Michael to tell me about his day... I usually ask questions and only get a yes or no, the rest is not answered, yet this is a big improvement compared to two years ago.

    The more I learn of you , the more I am inspired to learn even more... the things I have wanted to say or should I say wondered how I could say it , well lets just say you couldn't have said it better... Jack is lucky to have you , all your children are...


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