Saturday, November 11, 2006


One of the things most people on the autism spectrum share is perseveration. The person will latch on to a topic, perhaps some distinct words of a topic, and talk about this at every possible opportunity. The idea that conversation is to share ideas and we only talk about topics others are interested in at the time does not only not occur to them, it doesn't get through to them or cause them to stop.

Now, I know you may say, "But my uncle or my Dad or my Grandma has repetitive topics." Yes, many people do. However, most of them stop when they notice that people aren't listening, are rattling paper, looking around the room, or finding an excuse to leave. If they don't, then maybe they are somewhere on the autism spectrum, too.

Today, Alan went to his acting class run by Actors for Autism. Afterward, the woman who runs the group kindly said first that Alan had done well today. Apparently, some of the morning went well. She did remark, however, that at the beginning it was a difficult slog with him. The word slog didn't come from her, but with my knowledge of Alan, I imagine that is how it was.

He had two presidents' comments that he kept repeating today. The first was the first President Bush's "I'm not going to eat any more broccoli." We have been hearing that one over and over since he heard the recording at the National Archives back in September. No amount of admonishment has got him to stop saying it to everyone he has as a captive listener. Today, to my embarrassment, he added former President Clinton's remark, "I didn't have sex with that woman!"

I know that I am not supposed to allow myself to be embarrassed by his gaffes. It is human nature, though, for a mother, to be upset when her child says or does something embarrassing in public. It is hard for me to cut myself some slack.

We put some brakes in place in terms of consequences in this particular class. If you have any ideas on how to get these perseverations deep sixed, please let me know.

It doesn't help much to realize that in two months there will be new perseverations to drive me wild.


Blogger mcewen said...

I know what you mean. You're just beginning to tolerate the current one and then it's replaced by a new one!
Best wishes

6:46 PM  
Blogger The Glasers said...

Well, President Nixon's "I am not a crook" could be helpful, but I doubt Alan would use it knowing how much he *ahem* admires that president.

What we do with Pamela is try to stretch out echolalia: "I am not a doctor. I am not an astronaut. I am a boy."

I am not sure what to do with President Clinton's remark! Does Alan understand what it means? The underlying meaning? What he was trying to avoid disclosing? David finally asked me, so it was a great opportunity to share the difference between my definition of "not having sex" with what President Clinton believes. It became a talking point that led to me being able to share my values.

Pamela does not have a clue of any of this. She calls herself a big girl and emotionally she really is!


5:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is hard. I have a brother, that at first glance, looks just like anybody else. Unfortunately, he has a mind of a four year old, and one that sometimes says inappropriate things. Though in the end, people figure it out, it is sometimes hard to not be embarrassed at first, because they don't know of his difficulties.

2:37 PM  
Blogger mcewen said...

Aha! just directed here by your pal Junomom - but I managed to find you all by myself. I must be improving.

4:16 PM  

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