When I talk about autism, sometimes, I will mention “quirks” or “quirky” behavior. Something a little out of the ordinary. One of the very first times, I heard this word used in conversation with me was that fateful day our pediatrician finally said she wanted to have my son evaluated for autism. I swear she used the word “quirky” about 10 times during that conversation. And even though I was devastated that day, I can now look back and say with a smile that yes, my son does have his quirks. Here are some of the “quirks” that have brought me a laugh:
Talking About Wall Hazards
As part of his need to figure out where his body is in space, my son has intentionally, and repeatedly, run straight into walls and then fallen to the floor. He enjoys this activity, especially at our office, where he will bust himself up laughing while running from one end of his room to the other. It is loud, however, and not particularly healthy so he is repeatedly cautioned not to do it. He has curtailed this for the most part, but now has some philosophical musings over it instead.
As we ride in the car, he will point to any (and every) brick or concrete wall that we pass on our way to and fro. The following conversation then, inevitably, ensues:
My son: “Do we run into that wall?” (pointing)
Mom: “Do we?”
My son: “No.”
My son: “Because it could hurt.”
Mom: “And then what?”
My son: “And then that could be a time-out. That’s what Trista said.” [Caveat – Trista, my son’s senior ABA tutor, does not actually say this, although she does impose the time outs regularly].
My son is in a phase where he regularly wants to use scissors, cut paper and glue things. He thinks Elmer’s Glue is the holy grail of all artwork supplies and acts as though he has won the lottery every time he gets to hold a bottle or a stick of glue. He will beg, plead and promise anything to get to use some glue. (We’re not into sniffing yet – just squeezing and sticking things together). At OT, he had a chance to use a glue stick but he had to cut out a shape first. Once the shape was cut out he shouted:
“Let’s Elmer it!” with glee.
Turn taking is a really big deal with therapy. Everyone who comes in contact, in a therapeutic way with my son, is involved in teaching him how to take turns. For the most part he is pretty cooperative during his behavioral, speech or OT classes with taking turns and much of the struggle is in getting him to use the right pronouns to convey “Your turn” and “my turn.”
With me, however, at least two or three times a day, turn-taking has a different tone. He will ask me to change a battery or fix a toy. When I go to check the fixed toy, there is trouble in paradise. I will push a button and he will go nuts trying to get it back. I will then say, “It’s my turn,” or “Mommy’s turn.” The reaction I have been getting lately is “Yo! Yo!” (heavy emphasis on the second “yo”) followed by “It’s [Tootles’] turn!” Consistently, I get 2 “yo”s together followed by asserting his own turn, coupled with a reach or grab for the object.
That he does not want to take turns? I’m thinking this is more a NT, only child, type behavior. The quirky part? His need to shout, “Yo! Yo!” first. It is hard to chastise or discipline him when I am laughing. There is just something about the way he says it that tickles my funny bone every single time.