It goes like this:
Joey: (from his room) Gagggghh Gagggghh
Terrified Parent: Joey, are you OK?
TP: (Running into Joey’s room) ARE YOU OK?!?!?
TP: Do you feel OK?
TP: Are you sick?
TP: Does your tummy hurt?
TP: Does your head hurt?
TP: Do your adrenal glands hurt?
TP: Are we in South Dakota or North Dakota?
J: North Dakota
TP: Are we in North Dakota or South Dakota?
J: South Dakota
Communicating with the autistic kid in our care is a challenge, to say the least.
- He makes sounds of distress but can’t tell us what hurts. This is especially fun in the emergency room after a seizure and a fall, when the doctors are trying to figure out if he’s suffering any head or internal injuries.
- He considers answering questions a form of work, so he says “Yes” to get rid of us as quickly as possible. This is also very helpful to doctors seeking diagnostic information.
- To an either/or question, he simply answers with whatever we say last, also to get rid of our questions as quickly as possible.
Yet whenever we hear the latest gagging sound, we run in and start asking questions.
So who really has the pervasive developmental disorder? Mom and Dad don’t seem able to comport our behavior to the realities of our experiences, do we?