Thursday, July 7, 2011

Decoding the Language of Autism

A very interesting piece about communication--for both children on the spectrum and for their families.

Autism has its own language. Just ask any parent whose child has received a diagnosis of PDD-NOS and now has an IEP mandating EI that includes OT. But the specialized language of how we talk about autism is actually easier to master than the language -- spoken or not -- that autistic people themselves use.

This point came home to my wife and me during a trip we took to the Bay Area last month with our autistic son, Sam. Erika's grandmother died two years ago at age 97, and her family made the trip to California to inter her ashes in the East Bay city where she had lived for many years.

Our initial plan was for Sam and me to stay behind at the hotel while the rest of the family went to the cemetery. We figured the service wouldn't mean much to him and that he might be disruptive. Ultimately, though, we decided that since only immediate family would be there, there was no harm in bringing Sam. We told him we were going to "say goodbye" and crossed our fingers.

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