Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Witticisms by Dude

Julianne Fretz, BA
autismMatch Research Assistant
Center for Autism Research

When you hear people talk about autism spectrum disorders (ASD), the focus tends to be on what children and adults with ASD cannot do.

As the older sibling of a brother (nicknamed Dude) diagnosed with PDD-NOS, I am acutely aware of the things that are challenging for him. However, instead of focusing on the issues with elopement, functional speech, self-care, etc., I choose to focus on the many awesome things about him.

Over the years, I have learned that the way you approach an autism diagnosis, or anything in your life, is your choice. You can make the decision to focus on the negative or the positive. All you have to do is choose.

I am not traditionally known for being an optimistic thinker. Dude has brought that out in me, especially over the last few years.

Little things he says or does always put a smile on my face. I consider every one of them a small victory; a sign of both the humor and intellect that lives within him that mainstream society is prone to overlook and/or question. This is why I started keeping track of these moments on my personal blog. There I write down moments big and small so that Dude’s extensive support network can smile, laugh, grow, and learn with him.

My hope for the CAR community is that you never downplay the small victories in your and your children’s lives. It is so easy to be bogged down in the world of “cannot.” The difficult path is choosing and celebrating the world of “can.”

Please enjoy one of Dude’s many witticisms.

Back story #1
Dude has been doing therapeutic horseback riding for 4 or 5 years now. He LOVES it. There are three commands that he uses with the horses:

Whoa = Stop
Walk on = Go
Trot = Trot

Dude-ism #21
Last night, Dude and Mom were driving back from his music class. The light turned green, but Mom was distracted and didn’t accelerate immediately. Mom heard Dude mumble something from the passenger seat.

“What did you say?” asked Mom.

“Walk on,” Dude replied.