In the peculiar yin and yang of raising kids with ASD, I spent my morning with a team of folks from the school district observing Cedar for special education preschool, and then I spent the afternoon driving my oldest to and from an interview for an Ivy League college. While in general he has a vocabulary of maybe 6 words, Cedar will do something surprising now and then like count his fingers or sing the last several bars of the sandman song. The language specialist at his evaluation yesterday thought he said “red car”, even though I’ve never heard him using a noun or an adjective before. It’s probably echolalia, but I guess you start somewhere. Spacepook had a song she used to butcher, and I think she may have been this age. It was a song from Barney, “Ha ha ha, Hee hee hee, come on get silly and laugh with me.” She had the first part, but then it became “gwanaiooo.” I think it was supposed to be “go on you.” My sisters used to say “Oh come on!” a catchphrase from Tommy Boy. Spacepook would say “Oh, go on!” Like, on some level she knew that go and come were related meanings, but inverted it likely due to an autistic theory of mind. I also remember how she used to build a 25 piece puzzle upside down, relying on the shapes of the pieces rather than the pictures. It occurred to me this little parlor trick may be analogous to their acquisition of language. Perhaps all the features that are readily noticeable are just seem like noise, when the autistic child sees structure as the important thing.


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