Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Am I Disabled?- Having the disability conversation with my #autistic son

I have talked quite a bit about Bubby growing up into a socially conscious young man, lately.  He really has grown leaps, and bounds in just the last 6 months alone.  It's as if a switch as flipped in his mind, and social consciousness was turned on from pretty much what appeared to be the off position.  Black, and white really.

So as you can imagine, some of the questions he asks, and statements he makes sometimes leaves me looking for words.

Such an incident happened a few weeks ago.

We were at I-HOP.  We had just swished into our booth, and picked up our menus. This is always a settling in time for me.  It's the moment where I feel out the nearby tables to see how much Beans loud stims are gonna bother them. Here lately, Beans has been deafeningly loud with his verbal noises that flow from his mouth almost constantly.  As his voice deepens these noises appear to be louder, and louder. I try to give Beans some toys, and make him as comfortable as possible.

"Ahhhhhhrrrrrrr"  he yells.  "MMMMMbaaaaaaa"

Then, it happened. Bubby says "Shhhh Beans! There's people over there! They can hear you."

Me: Well, he's trying, but he gets overwhelmed in restaurants.

Bubby: Is it embarrassing?

Now, this is misleading.  My son isn't asking necessarily anything. He often times speaks in questions, and asks questions that he knows the answers to, or thinks he does.  This questions speaking type of scripting is much better than it was a few years ago, but it's definitely still there. He's not really asking if Beans is embarrassing.  He's pretty much saying he believes he is. I explain to him that I don't think so, and that noise is how Beans calms himself.  While at the same time trying to remind Beans that we need to use quiet mouth.  Seems like maybe I am not being truthful with Bubby, but I don't mind the noise.  I know it's necessary for Beans to do it, but I would like it to be taken down to a less ear shattering level, to where it isn't heard across the whole restaurant, and interfering with other's meals.

So, then we begin looking at menus, and talking.  I mention something about how schools now have to provide adaptive sports to disabled kids to my husband, and father in law.

That must have sparked a thought in Bubby's head.

Bubby: Mom, am I disbaled?