Is it live or is it autism?

Remember those ads from the days when we used VHS, cassette tapes, and stuff like that?

No?

OK, so you’re young and I’m old. Well, here’s some of what you missed:

That tag line popped into my head this morning. On Saturdays, I usually hit the gym and then have breakfast at a local place. I always chat with one of the guys who works there.

This morning, he shared that he’d just sent his wife to an out of state family gathering on her own, because he couldn’t leave the house in the hands of their teenager. This is a neurologically typical teen, not a special needs kid. “He won’t take care of the house, the dog, anything. If my wife and I both go, the place will be trashed when we get back. I’ll just have to go another time.”

Was that just life, or was it autism? Because what the guy at the restaurant said sounds just like what a caregiver might say. “We don’t go on vacations right now, because he doesn’t like sleeping in strange places.” “We can’t go out to dinner, because she gets sleepy around 7:30.” Etc., etc., etc.

One of the traps of care giving is thinking that our challenges are not common to “normal” families. Some wacky stuff that our son does is autism; some of it is just human. That was especially so in his teen years.

Here’s a bit from one of his day program quarterly reports:

Joey has been making some progress learning and practicing the steps in doing laundry. Staff report he takes laundry to the laundry room where there is some to do, and note that there is always some staff prompting involved when working on the tasks…

OK, so put in “Mom” or “Dad” where it says staff. Is that normal life with kids, or is it autism? Our put in “teacher” instead of staff. Is it a typical classroom, or a program for kids with special needs?

It’s Saturday. I’ve been to the gym and breakfast; Joey’s had his usual donut. So I think I’ll just stop thinking too much and be like the guy in this retro commercial:

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