A Date, with Autism (#348)

Thanks to my parents visiting, Jim and I saw a play in Manhattan this afternoon and then went out for a nice Italian dinner.

And talked about………………..autism. Charlie. Brainstormed for the Autism Advocacy Conference that Jim is organizing for October 27, Friday at the Lincoln Center campus of Fordham University—and to which you are all invited: You can register by emailing Jim at jafisher@fordham.edu; the conference is free and open to the public.
Yes, it was a date-with-autism.

When you live Autism Every Day, you eat drink sleep dream talk autism. (As Jim and I do.) While Charlie’s transition from his old school to the new school is coming with the inevitable bumps (on the forehead for Charlie, right before getting on the red schoolbus to come home today—was Charlie thinking ahead to Friday and his last red schoolbus ride home?), we know it could have been far rockier. Nothing is perfect, but Charlie’s old and new teachers, case managers, and home Lovaas/ABA consultant have all exchanged information and been in communication with each other. The New Bus will arrive at 8.21am on Monday morning in front of Grandpa’s house/Charlie’s new white house.

Yes, Jim and I feel that we have been planning, strategizing, worrying, phone-calling, emailing, faxing, advocating to make this change for Charlie as seamless and smooth and possible. And we have learned, this kind of massive Charlie campaign-type strategy is not a one-time effort to help him prepare for his new school.

It is something we will have to do time and time again throughout Charlie’s life.

It means thinking about autism all the time.

Though, actually, that has become second nature to me.

I went to visit Charlie’s soon-to-be-old school for the last time this morning. I had brought my camera to take photos of his teacher and instructors for a memory book for Charlie—-of course, I had accidentally left my camera on all night and ended up using my cell phone camera. The photos of Charlie’s teacher and instructors came out fine but my attempts to sneak a photo of him at circle time saying the Pledge of Allegiance came out all muddied. I could just hear Charlie saying “hannovah heart, heart!” and clapping his left hand over his upper torso, and then crossing over his right hand for good measure; I will have to remember it.

Jim and I could see Charlie’s big head in the front window as we came home; Charlie ran out onto the porch, all smiles. As he was preparing to go to bed and sifting through his favorite photos (of former therapists and teachers), Charlie glanced at me and said “No bumps.” And fell asleep while singing “Jolly Old St. Nicholas.”
The play that Jim and saw, Shining City by Conor McPherson, is about a former Dublin priest-turned-therapist and one of his clients, a man whose wife died in a taxi accident, and whose red-coated ghost is haunting his house. “It was all about talking and aloneness,” Jim noted over red snapper (him) and pesto (me). And we talked about certain rhythms of speech, and denial, and about being Irish (as Jim is), and families who are not there and who are, and about Jim’s mother who needs to be able to stand up and walk about if she is ever to go home, and about J.M. Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World.

About how you can talk all around and all about something (some hurt) but never quite get to talking about it.

(Whatever “it” is.)

Words, words: How little they can end up saying. How few Charlie uses, but to world-changing effect, as he did before falling asleep:

Wise up!

7 Responses to “A Date, with Autism (#348)”
  1. Rose says:

    An attitude is a good thing!

  2. kyra says:

    so many good wishes on this transition! you are all doing such a great job, helping this to be as smooth as possible. i am cheering over here in little RI. and how great to see a play! how i miss that!

  3. RobertP says:

    Every date is an autism/life date isn’t it? What happened to small talk? ASD.

    Great post, good to hear everyone is living it.

  4. I do often feel it is the “Autism channel” over here—-on those very rare occasions when Jim and I went out for dinner in years before, we’d try hard not to talk about autism and stick to “other things.”

    That always lasted about 5 minutes max.

  5. Wade Rankin says:

    It’s a rare conversation we have that doesn’t revolve around the world of autism. I’m sorry I won’t be there for Jim’s conference. Please let us know how it goes.

  6. rachael says:

    I had to post here. . . I seem to have the same thing–only I’m not a parent. . I’m a therapist. I find that I talk to everyone about autism–even when I’m not working! Good luck with the transtition to the new school!

  7. Hi Rachael—-Indeed, autism never leaves my mind or conversation!

    We’ll miss you at the conference, Wade, but you can be sure I’ll write something about it……

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