Minion Monday – Doctor Who and the Autistic
I am a Whovian (one who loves the TV show Doctor Who).
I adore the shows, new and old. I have a favorite Doctor (10).
I have a Tardi (the plural for Tardis) or 4 hanging around the house, along with t shirts, ear rings, figures and my own sonic screwdrivers.
I like Doctor Who.
Zach, however doesn’t.
While, he doesn’t run from the room, it is the only show he has ever asked me to change the channel from.
As a whovian, this makes me really sad!
I mean really what geek doesn’t want their kids to share their passion.
However, as an autism mom though, this is awesome!
I know this will sound silly, but here is how I see it.
First of all, to show me he didn’t like Doctor Who, he vocalized, he didn’t just get upset and stim or leave the room.
He told me.
He used actual words to express his dislike.
He said “No more Doctor. Who.”
For him this is simply, awesome.
Normally, if he doesn’t like something he shows it through action.
At his best he will put on his headphones, or leave the room. At his worst he will force his way in to remove, destroy or otherwise make it stop.
This time he spoke!
He used his words.
I never thought hearing “No more Doctor. Who.” would be a good thing; but it is.
I was wrong, I rejoice in the fact that my son can talk to me!
For so many years, he couldn’t tell me how he felt, or what he liked, or didn’t.
His voice just wasn’t there.
No matter how hard we tried he just couldn’t talk.
At first he would repeat words and the meaning behind them was lost.
He couldn’t tell me what he wanted or if he was sick.
Now, he says “No more Doctor. Who” I am thrilled.
He is not just repeating words, he is telling me he doesn’t like something. He is SAYING how he feels!
When Zach was diagnosed with autism about 7 years ago. At the time he had little to no speech. Shortly after we started speech classes, I attended almost every one.
I would work hard to continue the lessons at home. We pushed and pushed and slowly he gained words, eventually he even understood them.
Only, in the last year has he figured out he can use them to communicate more than just open this or do that. Now he gets that he can talk about how he feels, what he wants, even if he doesn’t like something.
I am sure some of you are saying, that 7 years is a long time. For somethings it is.
I have learned quick and easy are not terms associated with autism.
Understanding, patience, and love are what autism has taught me.
In the time it has taken for him to figure out the whole communication thing, I have learned that there are more ways to communicate than words.
I have learned that with patience great things happen. Never ever give up no matter how hard or how fruitless it all seems.
I also now understand that the words I love you, are precious but should be shared with everyone too, because you never know who needs to hear them.
I know a lot of people want a quick, easy “fix” for autism, there isn’t one in my opinion. Autism doesn’t mean your child is broken, or flawed it means they are different, that’s all.
While we were fighting so hard to help him find his voice, I often worried and thought it might be something he wouldn’t understand.
I was so very wrong.
I should know better than to ever assume he can’t or won’t do anything.
He is too wonderful for that.
So the day he told me, “No more Doctor. Who” he won a battle, WE won a battle. He gained his voice.
Oh an yes I changed the channel; but I did record it for later ;).