Wouldn’t it be interesting, we thought …
to do an interview with an actual kid with autism? Such a hot topic lately. It just so happens we have one around the house. The original plan was for Beth to do an off-camera interview with Jake so people could get a sense for who he is.
Of course, what we had in mind isn’t exactly how it went. The kid is such a joker! We yelled upstairs to tell him that we needed him to be on camera so we could put him on TV later. He came down without any bottoms. ANY bottoms. Just a t-shirt and a smile. He was sent back upstairs to change for his TV show. He came back with pajama shorts on and no shirt. We didn’t feel right about putting a topless minor on the internet. Again, he was sent upstairs to change. As luck would have it, he returned with pajama shorts and his I-heart-lamp t-shirt. Perfect.
In a perfect world (not the one we live in), Jake would be charming and engaging, doing his best to appreciate the Spielberg-esque vision I had. Alas, he cared little for my plan. As is so often the case with Jacob, he knows the answers to the questions, but he doesn’t do very well when asked directly. When he was very little, teachers couldn’t get him to count to one hundred, or even to ten, on command. He would, however, loudly sing his way to one hundred during coloring time. I’m not sure why I was surprised when he seems put out to be interviewed on camera.
If you pay attention, there are things to notice:
- He starts off slow but gains momentum
- A running joke around our house is how to spell THIRD. Jake originally thought it was FRD. That he’s been hearing FIRD is my only explanation. Beth corrected him, but now he uses TRD for THIRD. It’s his version of a joke. Speaking of which…
- He’s got a wicked sense of humor. He loves opposite humor. If the answer’s UP, he’ll say DOWN and think he’s the very pinnacle of wit. Notice he says Annie’s a ‘silver retriever.’
- Once he gets on a roll, it’s hard to get him off of it. “and the next day” is a perfect example of this. He says this once, for whatever reason, thinks he’s hilarious, and then won’t quit.
- He loves shock value. I have no idea where “naked chipmunk” came from, but it keeps popping back up in inopportune moments.
- He still uses gibberish as filler to normal conversation. He never has a whole paragraph worth of words to say, so he’ll get out the main points, then use a bunch of gibberish to flesh out the idea.
- “I was on TV” is from Monster’s, Inc. where Mike is featured on the Monster’s, Inc commercial, but gets covered by the logo. Undeterred, he’s so excited to have been on TV. Jake saw a video of himself on youtube.com earlier, and brought that one out of his echolalia vault.
Here’s the video:
Take away points are these:
- He’s GOT autism, but he’s NOT autism.
- He’s a cool kid who likes sharks, riding his bike, and jumping off the diving board. He could be any 11 year old.
- Even though the task is disagreeable with him, he pulls it together for his Mom.
Please comment if there are questions. I’m hoping this can start a dialogue to bring awareness of this condition and tolerance to the masses. All reasonable questions will be answered openly.