Sunday, July 15, 2012
I thought I had heard it all...
I thought I had heard it all. Between all the things said to me, and all the stories from my friends, I thought there wouldn’t be a response to autism that could surprise me anymore. Apparently I was wrong.
Last night we had some people over – to be nice I won’t expand upon who they were. Well as usual the topic of autism came up and because they didn’t know a lot about autism we spent quite a bit of time talking about it. We were talking about communication and I showed them a PECS app on Skylynn’s iPad and her morning and night visual schedules. At this point one of our guests piped in “you should teach Skylynn Chinese.”
I looked at him sideways and said “we need to teach her English first.” At that point this man started explaining how Chinese characters mean an entire word just like PECS pictures do. Ok, yeah, that kind of makes sense. So I explained that was interesting but not useful in Skylynn’s everyday life. At which point he spent 5+ minutes arguing why we should teach Skylynn Chinese. It was aggravating because for obvious reason Chinese characters are incredibly useless in Skylynn’s life. I explained that Skylynn’s classes and therapy all use pictures and visual cues so it is a tool that is useful in all aspects of her life. At which point he told me we should have all her therapist and schools switch to Chinese characters. Grrrrrrrrr! At this point Nate explained it was a means to an end and we really were trying to teach Skylynn useful skills that would result in her speaking English just like the world around her. The argument would have continued but another guest asked a different question to move the conversation along.
Then the topic took another turn for the worst. I was explaining ABA and how it took Skylynn a few months and a 40 step process to learn to sit in a chair quietly so she could pay attention in class. This guy piped in something along the lines of “if you could magically learn Skylynn’s language all your problems would basically be solved.” Can I smack my forehead in public and it not be rude? Really wanted to. So I explained autism isn’t just about language, it is something that affects all faucets of a person’s life. He continued to argue with me that all we needed to do was learn Skylynn’s secret language. So at this point I explained that people with Asperger’s don’t have a language delay but still have significant difficulties due to autism. He still argued with me that we needed to learn Skylynn’s language. So I explained Carly Fleischmann and the fact that she can fluently speak her mind through typing on a computer but that she still has significant difficulties due to autism. I explained some of her sensory difficulties to which he replied “well that must be something else – some neurological condition.” Which I said “yeah, it’s called autism.” At this point Nate tactfully changed the subject.
Seriously?!? Who is this guy? Well, I mean I know who he is. But really who argues with an autism mom about autism to such a ridiculous degree? As if, all the sudden, he knows more about autism than me because he has sat in a room talking about it for a few minutes. Grrrrrrr! I know this is normal but the ridiculousness of Chinese characters and learning Skylynn’s magic language are a bit beyond me. I get so tired of this kind of crap!