For the past few years we couldn't get him to look at the camera. But over the past couple months, my 10-year-old son with autism has been requesting that we take a picture of him in different circumstances. Sometimes it's when he's wearing a plastic bowl on his head like a hat. Sometimes it's when he's wearing Mom's sunglasses. Sometimes it's when he's naked. He loves to look at pictures of himself, and video.
Yesterday after he got out of the shower, "Take a picture penis!" What?
Braden was asking us to take a picture of his penis. He usually skips a couple words, but we knew what he was saying. If he had normal speech he would have said, "Take a picture of my penis?"
No, I don't think we need a picture of our son's Johnson around the house. Imagine explaining that one to the police.
"No officer, our son has autism and, uh..." My next blog post would be from behind bars and I'd be vilified on the local news as the perverted parent of a young child with autism.
But seriously, when you have a child with autism you get accustomed to the unpredictable. Inappropriate behavior, play, and words are the norm. So, in line with that way of thinking, asking us to take a picture of his rod was perfectly normal behavior for our son. And it was funny.
When he's stripping down to get into the shower, and when he's being dried off after a shower, he loves talking about his twig. "I have a penis," he says. Yes, we know. He says it again in case we didn't hear him the previous 9 times he revealed this news. I think he likes seeing the shock on our faces the first time he says it, so he keeps saying it.
Our general response is first to laugh. Hey, it's funny! The second time he says it (5 seconds later) we acknowledge his words with something like, "I know. Dad has one too, but we don't need to talk about it." From that point on we usually ignore him. We've found that if we make a big deal out of something he shouldn't be doing he just gets more fixated on it. So we ignore and try to redirect.
Braden isn't bashful about his unit. Sometimes, in public, I have to tell him to stop holding it. And I've been told that when he uses the bathroom at school he drops his drawers to the floor the moment he enters the boys room. Most 10-year-old boys wait until they get near the urinal. Then they loosen their pants, unzip and let it flow. Not my son. His pants fall all the way to the floor putting his 'lil fella and the full moon on display. Oh boy. Dad's got some work to do.
At home, once the bathroom door is shut, he can drop his drawers. That's fine. But in public restrooms and school restrooms things are different.
My wife keeps the bathrooms spotless at home. Braden can touch whatever and wherever he wants, within reason. And washing his hands afterwards is encouraged.
But I've been teaching him not to touch anything in public restrooms. If he can avoid touching the door handle with his hands, great. If he can avoid touching the urinal handle, great. And if he can avoid touching everything in that nasty, germ-filled room that everyone else has fingered, perfect. In that case, I encourage him not to wash his hands. Just get out and call it good! After all, touching his penis doesn't get more germs on him. Touching everything else in the restroom is what gets germs all over. His unit is clean.
However, obviously I'm not at school with him. And it's difficult teaching him when to wash and when not to wash his hands. And it's difficult teaching him not to touch things, especially when I'm not present. I gotta think about it and figure this one out. Regardless of what I figure out there will certainly not be any picture taking going on!
Whew. Thank goodness he doesn't talk about his twig or drop his pants in church. That's all I got to say. Amen?
Leave a comment
|« Battling the School District||Biting My Lip »|