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Rhonda Valentine Dixon

The Funny, Lovely, Poignant Side of Autism

It is the 22nd August, 2011 and our twenty year old autistic son, Lin, arises on a wet Sunday morning.  The rain is a wonderful and welcome sight.  The husband and I are watching Time Team when Lin calls out ‘Hi’ and announces he’s up.  We giggle.  (How lovely to wake up in such a cheerful mood.)  Lin moves on into my study and proceeds to sit down at my computer.  As he does so, we hear him say ‘The sun is shining, the birds are singing’.  I recognise those words as language he has memorised from a television programme, probably Postman Pat, however my memory is not as astonishing as Lin’s. He would be able to tell you exactly which episode, as well as which programme, it came from.  (He has hundreds of scripts in his lovely woolly head and they come out when he sees, hears, smells or tastes something that reminds him of the particular words that emerge.)  Husband calls Lin back and says, ‘Look out the window, what do you see?’  We can see that Lin sees the rain.  ‘Husband says ‘The rain is shining and the birds are wet’.  Lin smiles with genuine amusement and goes back to the computer. I love these moments of precious interaction when for just a moment the autistic person and the (mostly) neuro-typical person connect.

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