February 11, 2009

Colorful Metaphors

When dealing with Connor and his life and our expectations, choosing your approach can be a challenge.  To whit: He watches You-Tube.  We have him logged in as a youth and the screening does eliminate a goodly bulk of objectionable material.  Still, he will come across an occasional bad word.  

Adult language at the workplace tends to be non-restrictive unless it crosses certain boundaries.  This is not true in elementary school or at my house.  

So what to do?  Connor already knows that we will not accept certain behaviors.  When told to refrain from some action, in general he complies after some consistency on our part.

When he says something along the lines of a colorful metaphor, we correct him, usually giving him an alternative.

This has lead to him using the phrase 'mother heck-er'.  

We could tighten down what he is exposed to at the house.  That would not do much other then isolating him from a world that he will be exposed to anyways.  Further, he would be exposed without benefit of our beliefs and ethics.

You have to consider this.  Language to him is more a series of sounds that when put together a certain way gets a response from someone else.  Saying to him "It's time for bed"  and "bed time" will give two different responses.  Most kids will understand that they are the same.

Connor will not.  One of the series of sounds means to go to bed.  The other series of sounds has no meaning.  Given time and consistency he will associate the two.

For a neophyte autism parent the above might sound ponderous.  In truth we adapt quickly to this regimen and pick up on the verbal queues he understands.  It becomes second nature, not unlike getting a new job and learning the lingo.

The other part of this, that I find interesting, is Connors association of names and people.  He can parrot a name he has associated to a face with some consistency.  The more people in a situation or the length of time between having to recall the name lowers his chances of getting it right.

However, if there is a defining event between Connor and that person.  The name becomes a concrete association.  We do the same thing but more on a subconscious level.  The guy who I see walking around the office is a cypher until I have an interaction  of note.

Seeing how Connor puts the world together gives me glimpses into the human brain and condition that I am grateful for.


flyingvan said...

Am I the sandwich guy?

Lee said...

You are Steve.

"Comon, lets go to San Diego to Steve's and jump on the trampoline."

Tina said...

Yes, he actually requests a trip to San Diego now more than going to Canada to Omi. Don't tell my mom...

flyingvan said...

Good thing you warned me before I talked to your Mom