Yesterday, we had a support worker from a respite program come to our house for an interview.
We are members of an organization that offers this summer service (a support worker comes to take Frances out into the community for a few hours each week) as well as monthly opportunities to socialize at well-planned events.
As it turned out, we had met our support worker before, last year, at one of the few events that Frances had actually wanted to attend.
We had gone to a planetarium, and while waiting for the evening show, Frances had met London (about 17 years old) and stayed by her side. They were fast friends.
Frances even opted (unbelievably) not to sit with me during the show and to sit beside London instead.
London arrived at our house on time, and I showed her to the dining room.
Frances had arranged with me beforehand that she wouldn’t have to take part in the interview, but, as London and I spoke, Frances came in to the dining room.
“Hi, Frances! It’s good to see you again…”
Frances took a seat at the table.
“We had such a great time last time we met!” London said.
Finally, Frances spoke: “I think I vaguely remember you.”
😂 😂 😂
I love her honesty! Since Frances really does want to make friends and has such a difficult time doing so, we are working on learning when not to be so strictly honest (since she will not lie).
I wasn’t worried, tho’: London is familiar with this possibility when some people with ASD, Aspergers, and autism interact. Besides, many people find her honesty to be a refreshing change.
I have to say that, when she was really young, and we didn’t have a diagnosis, she would not have even acknowledged that London was speaking to her.
Greetings appeared in stages: at school, teachers insisted on speaking to Frances and greeting her. For years, Frances was not responsive.
When she did start to respond, it was usually indicated by a change in her position or moving her head away.
By the time she was around 8 years old, she would mutter a “hello” without looking up and without stopping if she were moving.
At 11, Frances may respond with a “hello” or “hi” or she may respond with an observation (that is or is not relevant to the situation). If it’s an observation, there will be brutal honesty. Either way, it is a response!