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Autism Stories

From Dwight Meredith at PLA:

Raising an autistic child presents certain challenges. Situations sometimes spin out of control to the point that the only available recourse is laughter. Which, in a round about way, brings me to the subject of diet.

Many autistic kids are very particular about what they eat. Some require the foods to be a certain color, some a certain temperature and some simply will not eat many foods. One autistic child we know will only eat dry toast.

Our seven year old autistic son Bobby is somewhat particular about what he eats. For instance, he will not eat meat of any kind. It would not be accurate, however, to describe him as a vegetarian as he also will not eat vegetables of any kind. Or fruits, other than an occasional bite of banana. Fortunately, Bobby loves the complete dietary supplements that come in liquid form. We have been assured that he is getting all the proper nutrients.

Ah, but what about roughage? That is really not a big problem either. There is nothing Bobby likes better on a cold or rainy afternoon than to curl up and eat a good book. We have given up on our collection of paperback novels. He has not yet shown any appetite for hardcover. His brother protects his books with threats of violence. Faulkner is held under lock and key.

Bobby is also fond of consuming soap. Although he will take the occasional bite out of a bar of Ivory, he prefers liquid soap. Shampoo, dish detergent and hand soap are all objects of his desire.

Recently my wife and I were idly reading Body and Soul and laughing at the comments on Atrios when we heard a telltale giggle coming from our bedroom. We knew that was not good.

We rushed into the bedroom to find Bobby knocking back a tall boy of Johnson’s Baby Shampoo like a sailor on shore leave. The previously full bottle was now about 1/3 full. Another third appeared to be on Bobby’s clothes, our comforter, the pillows and the carpet. We would rather not think about the last third.

Cleaning shampoo out of carpet or bedding is tricky business. If you use water, the situation quickly degenerates into a scene out of I Love Lucy.

I grabbed the bottle and Bobby. My wife ran for the paper towels. As I took the bottle from Bobby, he gave a sly grin, burped and intently watched the bubbles float from his mouth.

I led Bobby to the bathroom for disrobing and a shower. As we exited the bedroom, I heard my wife call, “Bobby, if you do that again I’m going to wash your mouth out with food.”

Sometimes laughter is the only refuge.

Comments (2)

I just saw from JoniElectri... (Below threshold)

I just saw from JoniElectric what your worthy blogathon cause is. Well done!

I work as a substitute teacher for special needs children (and I love it, I consider it "my calling") and have at least weekly dealings with autistic children.

They do take a special kind of care, but they can certainly give out a special kind of love and there is a beauty about them that can be breathtaking at times.

Though, it has been my experience that it usually comes immediately prior to or following a caregiver near-breakdown!

Hats off to you for recognizing the beauty of these children.

I undertsand completely - m... (Below threshold)

I undertsand completely - my brother has many of the same odd tendencies as your son does. At least you didn't need to go get any soap to clean off your bedsheets!






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