Dad and son with autism have a conversation


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/09/22/dad-son-autism.html


#2

A good friend of mine has a sister with Autism, she lives with him and his family. She’s very sweet and thankfully she’s gets by just fine, if you didn’t know her you might not pick up on it. I also had an ex who has an aunt that has autism, also equally sweet and works in healthcare taking care of seniors.

With both of them patience is key but more than that you have to treat them with interest and be engaged. Beyond that i haven’t had a bunch of exposure with kids with autism, must be challenging but i imagine its rewarding to make them comfortable and happy.


#3

Awe, it got a little dusty in here during the first part of that conversation. The connection between father and son was heartwarming.


#4

excellent!


#5

When hearts and souls intertwine there is no conversation that can’t be mine.


#6

I was really hoping for the conversation between a dad and son with autism, but this was pretty cool too.


#7

Ill just play match-maker for the young gentleman


#8

I’ve heard that girls and women with autism are typically better at masking it than boys and men, which accounts in part for the difference in numbers of diagnosed cases between the two groups.


#9

Quite cool. Incredibly wonderful.


#10

Yuck. Couldn’t watch past the part where starts talking about his son in the third person, right in front of him, and then tells us (again, right in front of him) to watch what happens when he says no. They may have a good rapport, but the dad has no respect for his son.


#11

I disagree. I am extremely familiar with autism and family dynamics, and this dad is clearly thinking of his son in a way many do not. It is extremely hard to raise a kid with a disability - rewarding but very hard.


#12

Yes, I know. My point is I would never let anyone speak about my son in the third person in front of him like that, and would certainly never do it myself. Mind you, I would also never dream of filming my son and putting it on the internet, unless I was absolutely sure he wanted me to, and that he understood the privacy implications. But maybe I’m just out of tune with modern life.


#13

Thanks for sharing this. I have a sixteen-year old daughter with autism. You seem like a wonderful dad!


#14

As a former child who has autism, a basic start would be: Imagine a normal kid, but they’re stuck with loudspeakers glued to their head. We’re mostly like anyone else, just distracted because stimuli like sound, touch, taste subjectively occur more strongly for us.

As I’ve gotten older, I feel the social issues are mostly, though not entirely, sensory related: if you can find ways to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed or in some place with too much going on to pick out what you need to be looking for, socializing tends to go a lot smoother.


#15

Thank you for sharing your experience.


#16

meh.

3rd person mentioning a kid? Every parent has done that at some point to every kid growing up.

Chase is likely never going to be subject to the same implications of invasion of privacy. He just aint gonna get it, and it’s probably going to be necessary for many people to be ‘in his business’ for a very long time, because of his autism.

Not to say your intentions aren’t good, they’re just not relevant in this case. I’m just puzzled why you don’t see the very big writing on the wall, or why you don’t see the value of humanizing a disorder that is hugely varied and misunderstood?


#17

Please don’t tell me what is or isn’t relevant. I’m pointing out that, as a father of a kid with autism, I had a visceral reaction to this video, and couldn’t watch past a certain point. If you don’t think that’s relevant, you clearly have more issues to deal with than I do.


#18

Concerns over actions should always be due to the (negative) consequences that may result…otherwise, it’s needless worrying. What is it that you think will happen to the son, with video going out into the ether?

Most of us here believe that this normal and typical interaction will promote greater understanding of a dynamic that not many have the access to witness. What specifically are you afraid will occur?


#19

There are plenty of risks - video goes viral, gets remixed, kid becomes a meme, dad loses all control of how the kid’s image and likeness is used. Or well wishers decide to start a campaign of some kind to help out, and far from helping, it turns into a burden for the family (google “Craig Shergold” for a relatively harmless example that got out of hand). For a kid with autism there are additional risks: he gets recognized in public, people want to interact with him (e.g. take selfies) in ways that he finds uncomfortable or distressing. And you only have to watch that awful video posted here a few days ago of a cop handcuffing and manhandling a kid with autism to realise how little many people understand about appropriate interaction with kids with autism.

But I’m more concerned for the general principle that everyone should get to tell their own stories in ways they are comfortable with, and this is especially important for people who are neurodivergent. Kids with autism usually understand far more of what’s going on around them than many people realise (sometimes even the most loving caring parents underestimate this); they just have difficulty communicating it in ways that neurotypicals can understand. So treat them with respect. And don’t publish videos of any kids unless they can give their informed consent.


#20

By the way, if you really want to understand what autism is like, especially the more severe non-verbal kind, read accounts by people who have it. Look for the writings of Naoki Higashida, Carly Fleischmann, Ido Kedar and Tito Mukhopadhyay.