Thursday, November 8, 2012

The mysterious Mr. Man

I don't talk much about Mr. Man's autism on here. No reason, really, except that I guess I don't feel there's much to tell most of the time. Mostly we just try to go on as best we can. Like almost any six-year-old boy he likes to play outside, he loves video games and he eats like he has a hollow leg.

Lately, though, I've been feeling a little lost and, dare I say, jealous. I get regular reports from his teachers and daily reports from his aide. There are so many things they tell me that make me wonder, "where is that child when we're at home?" They report about conversations they have with him, when most of the time all I can get out of him is that he wants food. At his conferences his special education teacher was showing me a picture that he had drawn of her. "He said I had crazy hair, so he drew me with crazy hair," she laughed, pointing to the halo of scribbles around the picture-teacher's head. And of course I was insanely proud that he can do something that has eluded him for so long, but at the same time there was that little voice in my head saying why does he never draw pictures of us?

On a typical weekday, Baby Girl, Mr. Man and I get back from picking him up at school around 3:30. He has a snack and gets his 30 minutes of Wii time, after which he plays TeachTown for 10-20 minutes and then (in theory) does any worksheets that have been sent home, or we read the stories that they go over in class and get sent home as completed worksheets or activities. After that Yaya is home and Baby Girl needs a nap, so he plays with Legos or his Alphabet Apple until B gets home at dinner time. Then it's dinner, bath time, book time and bed time. The evening goes fast once B gets home.

I ask questions, of course. Some days it's like talking to a nonverbal child--I just keep up the conversation and he says nothing. Some days, like today on the way home from school, he talks about whatever. Today he talked about leaves but didn't really respond to any of my questions unless he was echoing them.

I worry that I'm missing something. That there's something they do, some ability they have that I don't that means they can coax the words and personality out of him. (Not that I'm saying he has no personality--quite the opposite--I just wish I could see more than little glimpses of it.) I wish I could do that. Until I find the key, if there is one, I guess I'll just keep on doing what I'm doing now.

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