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Thursday, September 6, 2012

The "F-word"

I'd say she was caught a bit off guard?
This is something that can only be appreciated by another caregiver of an ASD child. J has started saying the F-word. Let me clarify. Monday J got mad at his ABA therapist and said "F&*k" and of course she was shocked and he caught her staggered face and stammering reaction. When he caught that reaction he went into to repeat mode. While she brow beat him into practicing hand writing he mumbled over and over under his breath "f*^k, f*%k, f#$k, f*^k". At that point she had steeled herself to the word that shall not be named and ignored the behavior. On this incident I didn't get the full details because I didn't pick him up from therapy that day. I got the abbreviated husband version of events,"she told me he said f*%k. No, I don't know why". I decided not purse it until it became problematic.With ASD you've got to pick your battles.

The next day I get a note from his school teacher, Jonathan was on orange, aka defcon four on the school behavior chart! He said "f-word" to his teacher, not THE f-word but the phrase "f-word". I had to read that note a few times over before I completely comprehended (and was sure of) what he actually said and I'll admit I laughed a bit.

my punishment was a bit more progressive
but you get the point.
Anybody else ever read the Secret? Dam me and my anti-intentions! What you resists persists, what you resist persists! So that's why my kid has Autism (side note, wonder if they've ever done any studies on that idea, that may be a bit more useful than all the current genetics studies they are conducting now, again). Of course I sat down and spoke to him about it. He lost computer time, his giant precious moments eyes teared up and he ran to his room blazing with fury and slammed the door as only most angst ridden teenagers (and ASD kiddos) can. I emailed the teacher apologizing and letting her know that he would be punished. Of course she was understanding and thankful I'd followed through at home. She even placated my parental naughty word guilt by saying he wouldn't be the first and won't be the last, thank god teachers are people too.

I got to witness this fun little quirk myself  yesterday while working on his first bit of homework. It was another hand writing task, apparently those are his favorite! As I sat him down and got him started when I heard him say "f-word, f-word" in a clear concise (six year old) voice. Hearing he's been saying it from someone else and hearing him say it myself are two totally different things. I managed to play it cool and he stopped saying it with zero intervention on my part.

So my question is where did he get the term "F-word"? Like I've previously written in the post growing up with the word retard  ( that isn't a word bandied about in our house. One of his ABA therapists speculated that someone said to him don't say the"F-word" after he said f*#k  and like your typical (pun intended) Autistic six year old he took them L-I-T-E-R-A-L-L-Y. So now the "F-word" has become a curse word is his mind. In my house the "F-word" and f*#k and ALL variations of said vulgarity are now banished.

Even though he has Autism and can be expected (by DSM-IV criteria) to say and do things that are socially inappropriate I still feel responsible for what comes out of his mouth. I'll never forget how often my parents told me that my behavior reflected on them (of course at the time I didn't care). I think its hard-wired into to our DNA to want our kids to behave well as a reflection of our parenting abilities. While I hope J will develop this skill I have to accept that he may never be able to tell socially appropriate words from socially unacceptable words.

Another bittersweet Autism moment brought to you from my life. "F-word" it, I'm out. :)

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