It would seem that my posts have slowed down…But, don’t worry, I haven’t abandoned my posting. (Haha, see what I did there?)
Life does get busy here, but I do want to write more often. This is my goal!
Anyway, I’ve been wanting to share something that I’ve just noticed and which I think is cute: At the barn, there’s a policy/tradition/point of etiquette that, before opening an arena door, the person seeking entrance will loudly say, “door” and someone else will say “okay” or “no” in response.
(This avoids startling the horses and riders and also avoids someone getting run over by a cantering horse that’s really riding the rails. But that’s not the cute part; I digress.)
Recently, I’ve noticed that, before entering a room at home, Frances will knock and say “door” loudly; if she doesn’t hear “no”, she’ll go in.
It’s probably a good idea. 🤔 But I do believe that I will have to think about a way to encourage her to not open the door unless she hears “okay.” That would be more helpful for her.
I’ve also noticed a really very significant change: Frances, who has now turned twelve, will play outside! For hours!! By HERSELF!! This is absolutely huge — the trifecta that we’d long wondered about, waiting to see if it would happen — and I just can’t adequately express it.
#asd #aspergers #autism
I’ve always enjoyed the fact that Frances lines things up. In fact, to be honest, years before she got her diagnosis, I started noticing that she did this. It didn’t concern me because, as I said to Pink Cup Dad once years ago, Frances “always has a good reason” for doing so.
“Like what?” He asked.
“Like all of her baby dolls are watching TV.”
“That’s not a good reason…”
I can actually see his point now. She would have lined them up and THEN decided that they were watching TV because she doesn’t have storylines or narratives when she plays. The lining up is the priority and not the activity of having them “watch TV.” Her behaviour isn’t, and wasn’t, typical play behaviour.
Nothing has changed about this activity as she has aged, except that she isn’t interested in baby dolls anymore; she is intensely focussed upon horses and horse dolls and horse riding and horse-doll collecting and horse documentaries…
While waiting for an appointment recently, she sat on the floor and lined up her (Schleich) horses. She didn’t have a story that preceded or accompanied the lining up of the horses; she didn’t have one afterwards, either. I think it’s just what a herd of twenty-plus horses would look like if they were going somewhere.
Frances actually has many RBIs (repetitive behaviours and interests), and this is my favourite: she’s been doing it since she was about 13 months or so.
The behaviour to me seems harmless; if she likes lining up objects, why shouldn’t she? Certainly, it can be messy: I’ve literally seen hundreds of my books continuously lined up and looped around objects throughout the entire house because my 18-month-old daughter was THAT focussed. I was very impressed even as I picked up every single book.
I know that it’s a behaviour closely associated with autism and ASD. I like it.
So, recently, Frances and her class went to an art gallery. Pictures of the field trip were promptly posted online, and one, in particular, caught my attention.
Among her classmates, Frances is sitting opposite the presenter or guide for the tour. Quite clearly, Frances is speaking, and the guide is listening.
Out of curiosity, I asked Frances if she could remember what she had been saying. I mean, the photo suggests that it is an interesting conversation, and I love that someone had captured the precise point at which she was speaking, too.
Frances: The lady said that she was used to dealing with much younger children, and that we should tell her if she speaks to us as if we’re kindergarteners.
Me: Yes…But you were speaking. What did you say?
Her: I said, ‘Um, just to let you know — you’re speaking to us as if we are kindergarteners.’
(Her honesty, though legendary, is spoken in neither malice nor rudeness; she simply took the guide’s instruction at face value.)
Since she was three years old, Frances has had an intense interest in all things medical 🏥. It shows up everywhere, especially at 11 years old.
The other day during March break, Frances announced, as she typically does (literally) in passing, what was on her mind:
“Mum, if someone were saying, ‘I can’t feel my face when I’m with you’ to me, I would say, ‘Stroke! You’re having a STROKE!’” 😂
Yes, one of the benefits of having a child who focusses so intensely on her subjects of interest is that you are fortunate enough to suddenly find yourself in the most entertaining (as well as enlightening) of conversations.
Recently, I was discussing with someone an event that had occurred while I was hospitalised last autumn and described the cautiousness that my care team had demonstrated regarding some cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary symptoms. Frances couldn’t help herself, she interrupted because she just had to know:
Did they give you TPA?
Did you hear, “Code Blue” over the loudspeaker?
Did anyone say, “Everyone to the resuscitation bay!”
She speaks now of becoming a surgeon which, I’ve told her, would probably allow her to continue her equestrian ambitions.
I almost let a holiday go by without mentioning my inimitable 11-year-old’s reaction to it this year.
Frances: There’s too much “love” involved — and happiness. And pink. Blech.
This is a first. She used to enjoy Valentine’s Day (although it was probably access to the candy, now that I think about it).
I can’t wait to see what she says tomorrow… It’s my birthday. 😬
Figurative language can be a struggle at times for Frances; sometimes, it’s a product of her young age, but at other times, it’s the struggle that many people with ASD have.
Frances has a great sense of humour, so when the following happened recently while watching an ad about the benefits of spending more time outside, we both immediately had a really good laugh.
Narrator: Return your loved one to nature…
Frances: What?! What does THAT mean?
Me: Not what you think it does!
This past weekend at Grandma’s birthday party, Grandma and her sons were trying to find a vase for the flowers we’d bought her.
Frances, focussing on her iPad, muttered, “God, don’t these people have a sense of depth?”
I leaned over and said, “What do you mean?”
“I mean, can they not look at the flowers and look at a vase and predict with some accuracy that the flowers will fit or will not fit the vase?”
😂 Sometimes, I wonder how it is that I don’t choke because she says the funniest things when I happen to be eating.
Let me be clear: Frances is not being mean; she’s being honest — at a time when most people wouldn’t be — without a stitch of malice.
Hands down, it was the best comment of the evening — and, even though she definitely has to learn not to express these thoughts, her cleverness made me proud.
Yes, I do have to teach her that saying these things aloud isn’t okay, but convincing her lately has become so very difficult.
I have to do it for each instance, too, because she usually wouldn’t generalise.
“We have to keep that as an ‘inside thought’,” I usually say.
“Why? Why can’t I say this?”
“Because it hurts people’s feelings.”
“That’s silly. It’s just an observation…”
And so it goes. Lots of conversation about why we’re having the conversation. So, dear readers, this area of things doesn’t necessarily get easier, but it does become funnier! (At least in our case.)
Me: How was your day?
Me: Oh…that’s too bad. Now, you can ask me how my day was.
Frances: I’d rather not
It’s a good thing that I was leaving the room at the time because this exchange made me giggle. Frances is all kinds of amazing!
As she grows, I believe that she will find friends who appreciate her honesty as much as we do.