So Joey, our autistic son, was out of sorts Monday morning. His weekend was “different” and on the autism planet “different” = “bad, undesirable, fail, unwelcome, must be destroyed.”
He spent Saturday night in a respite apartment, giving mom and dad a night out and beginning our family preparation for the day when he will move into a group home. The stay went just fine, but after reflecting at home he decided to express his, um, issues with our little weekend plan.
He tried to swat the dog, then took a swipe at dad. He bellowed angry words and noises.
Then he got on the paratransit bus, plopped himself in the driver’s seat, and wouldn’t get out.
The patient driver negotiated but couldn’t get him to move. Tim was en route to work and Melissa can’t budge Joey physically. But she had a brainstorm…
Joey’s older brother (also a Tim) was home from college for the MLK weekend. He was sleeping, but Melissa went and roused the lad…
As an older brother, Tim wasn’t one to put up with Joey’s stuff in the same way mom and dad would (e.g. getting thrashed). Tim (the younger) played football, wrestled, power lifted and listened to angry metal bands, among other skills. So he put a few big brother take downs on Joey several years ago, and Joey learned to be compliant with him. Although loyal to the autism planet’s ways, Joey’s made concessions to life on the Tim planet.
So Tim showed up in the bus door, and Joey was quickly in an appropriate seat and on his way.
No deep lesson with which to leave you. Just the thought that sometimes people in our care need to be held to the same standards as the rest of humanity. And that sometimes care givers, by disposition, habit, training or other inhibitions, aren’t the best tools for that job. So it is prudent to have an array of tools available.