Saturday, January 8, 2011

The darker and lighter side to Autism Humor

I was explaining to my husband that I was working with Justin, our almost seven year old on when it's appropriate to tell a "white lie". This is a topic that's very difficult for many children with Aspergers. Because their thinking is based in truth and logic. When I brought up the topic with Justin he looked perplexed and asked what "white lie" was. So, I asked him why he shouldn't call someone "fat". He paused and was concentrating and finally said, "because they would be embarrassed". HUGE for him to cognitively process that although I was spoon feeding the conversation. I didn't get into what it meant to be polite, or how inappropriate it would be to call someone that etc etc and I thought it was great that he was perspective taking.

When I reassured him that yes, a person would be embarrassed if you called them "fat", we also had to talk about the unpleasant fact that the person may in fact, be heavy set, which is a fact, or a truth, and why we still don't go around pointing out people's weight and calling attention to it in in-appropriate ways. I did this partly because when I saw Michelle Garcia-Winner, renown speech and language pathologist (SLP) for kids on the autism spectrum she discussed how she teaches her kids to be able to lie, that people do lie, and when it is and is not appropriate in our society. Think about it. The differentiation comes so easily to the neurotypical person but is merely a scientific theory to the child with Aspergers that they have to study, learn and work through one situation at a time!

After bringing all of this to Justin's attention, he immediately said, "Mama. We still CANNOT lie to water resorts!!" This, he was very adamant about. He was referring to the instance of sitting in a hot tub at a water resort where the signage clearly states that no one under six is allowed in the hot tub. To my son's dismay, my husband allowed my almost five year old--my 49" 50 lb four year old--in the hot tub with him. Justin further stated that, "Connor can wait the extra year until he's six and that we must do something to address this." Serious as a funeral.

So, I am rehashing all of this to my husband thinking about the hysterical nature of the whole situation--too tired to process through my son's inability to cognitively process through daily happenings--and my husband tells me, "That's nothing, in the hot tub, Connor told me that I was a fat old man with breasts." Cue snare drum and crashing high-hat.