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Rhonda Valentine Dixon

The Funny, Lovely, Poignant Side of Autism #2

03 March 2017

(This post and The Funny, Lovely, Poignant, Side of Autism #2 cont. deal with the challenges the autistic individual has with ‘change’).

Lin emerged from my craft room empty handed, with a wondering kind of look on his face.

“What are you looking for?” I asked

“Glue”, says he.

“What do you need glue for?”

“To fix my shirt.”

I asked to see the shirt and informed him that it was very nearly at the end of its life and I could fix it with a patch one more time but it was really time he chose a new one.  I took the shirt straight to the sewing machine and sewed a patch on the inside.  He thought the result was quite good, however the worn slit on the outside was still showing.  I thought nothing more of the shirt myself, but clearly that worn slit niggled at Lin.  Much later, having discovered the whereabouts of the glue, he borrowed it, and the cellotape too.  He strategically glued the offending slit, allowed it to dry and the following morning he pressed cellotape over the hardened glue for extra measure.  I didn’t notice until he was dressed ready for work.

“Mr Dixon”, I said, “you need to put one of your new shirts on.  That one is worn out”.

“No, it’s all right”, says he.

“No, it’s not’, I said to him.  I tell you what, show your Dad and see what he says.  He’s always very honest.

Lin presents himself in front of his father.  Alan knows I don’t exaggerate such things but is having a devil of a job trying to see where the shirt is worn out.

“Turn around Mr Dixon,” I said to our son.  Lin turned around.  Alan saw the offending glue and the extensive quantity of cellotape, which was definitely overkill, and suggested it was very silly and that his friends would laugh at him and that he should put on one of the new shirts we had encouraged him to select at Lowes the previous week.

“No,” says Lin.

“Do you want to go to Fulcher House today?” (Fulcher House is a Blue Care facility where people with disabilities meet and are supported to participate in all aspects of community life.)

“No,” says Lin.

“Right, no computer, no television, no music.  You can read books on your bed all day”.

“No,” says Lin.

“Well, what are you going to do then?”

“Go to Fulcher House,” says Lin.

“Well, go and change into a new shirt then.”

I noticed Lin was hesitating so I said that even though we will throw the shirt out, we can keep the buttons.  I can put them on a new dolls dress.  (I make dolls clothes for selling at the markets.)

He was happy with that idea and put a new shirt on and we were at Fulcher House by ten past eight.

Meanwhile he expected me to have the dolls dress completed, resplendent with old shirt buttons by the time he got home.  However after a busy day, a new dolls dress was not forthcoming and the buttons were on the dining table.  (I’d thrown the shirt in the bin before he could squirrel it away again.)  Just knowing the buttons will go on a new doll’s dress is giving him great comfort and he has accepted the new shirt into his repertoire quite nicely thank you very much.

This is another post about the challenges of coping with change when you are autistic, even at 26!

Husband left our red Ford Utility at his place of work and came home in a large white truck.  I thought I’d better warn the young Mr Dixon.  Such a significant change could be problematic.  When I told Lin, he became very concerned.  I assured him that the ute would be back soon; that Dad didn’t intend keeping the white truck.  He sought reassurance a few times throughout the evening and the next day.  Alan drove the truck back to work and came home in the ute that afternoon.  Lin was hanging washing out when Alan came around the corner of the house.  Lin saw him and asked where the ute was.  (He calls the ute Sam Waldron’s Lorry after the tradesman’s lorry in Postman Pat.) Alan replied that it was in the driveway.  “Ah, it’s back”, Lin said when he saw it.   “I was wanting to take you for a ride in the white truck,” said Alan.  “Would you like to go for a ride in it?”  Lin gave a nervous kind of giggle and said “Nah, everything is back to normal.”

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