– Who are you?
I’m an autie mum. That is, I’ve got an awesome little boy who, for the purposes of this blog, I’m calling L’il Ainjil. He’s autistic. I love him. He loves me. He yells a lot.
– L’il Ainjil?
Yep; I’m quoting/paying homage to/ripping off George Herriman’s Krazy Kat comics. Krazy Kat, a confused beastie of indeterminate gender and arguable species, loves a mouse who keeps hurling bricks at his/her head. Krazy Kat takes this as a sign of affection, and often reflects, ‘L’il ainjil…’ It’s a world of strange, grand views, shifting backgrounds, wildly mispronunciated lengwidge, and getting walloped by the light of your life. It seemed appropriate.
I’m L’il Ainjil’s mum. I shall refer to myself as Scruffy; I might just about have swung Boho before L’il Ainjil, but Scruffy is definitely my name by now. L’il Ainjil’s dad – yes, he has a dad, no, we’re not divorced or anything – shall be known as Beardie.
– The Language Police Have Bunked Off For A Cup Of Tea
I know that some people prefer the term ‘autistic’, feeling that ‘with autism’ pathologises diversity. I know that other people prefer the term ‘with autism’, feeling that ‘autistic’ labels people. Since I can’t please everybody, I’m just going to do what I’d do in my ordinary life, which is use whichever phrase seems to fit most naturally into the sentence.
If you have a strong preference for one or the other, well, sorry, it’s not my intent to disrespect your views. Really, it’s more that I think there’s merit in both sides and I’d rather not choose between them … and that in my own life, I’ve so often heard both phrases used both kindly and coldly, ignorantly and understandingly, that I find it hard to get worked up about. I know this is the Internet and terminology can be a big thing, but I’m a tired carer with a real-life L’il Ainjil to look after, and the number one rule of being a sane carer is ‘Pick your battles.’ (The second rule of being a sane carer is ‘Pick your battles.’ The third rule is ‘Always have a crafting project on the go.’)
Also – yes, I’m saying ‘autie’ sometimes. Maybe some people don’t like that, I don’t know. But my L’il Ainjil isn’t aspie, he’s autistic, and I don’t see why he shouldn’t get a cute word just because he’s further along the spectrum.
– ABA? You Monster!
We do a form of therapy/tuition with L’il Ainjil called ABA, or Applied Behaviour Analysis. Depending on who you talk to, this makes us cranks, torturers, or the only righteous who will be saved come the apocalypse. It’d be thrilling if life was really that exciting, wouldn’t it?
ABA has a lot of scientific studies backing it up, and L’il Ainjil likes his tutors. There’s no denying that in its early days, ABA had some bad shit to its name – using ‘punishments’ like cold showers, or using its methods to ‘cure’ homosexuality – and if they were still doing that, I’d be calling them monsters too. Actually, what tends to happen is this:
1. Tutor arrives with cool toys.
2. L’il Ainjil wants to play with cool toys.
3. Tutor requires L’il Ainjil to do something – sit at a table for a jigsaw puzzle, answer some questions like ‘What’s your name?’ and ‘How old are you?’, sort pictures into ‘Man’ and ‘Boy’ piles.
4. Once L’il Ainjil has done the thing, he gets a go on the toys.
‘Punishments’ involve ‘Not getting the toys till you’ve done the thing’ and ‘Getting ignored if you try to bite me.’
L’il Ainjil is a year into ABA and has come along miiiiiiles since we started. We aren’t trying to ‘cure’ him, but we are trying to teach him some skills. You go with what works.
– I Gotta Comment!
Sorry. This is the Internet, and people shout on the Internet. If I’m feeling the need to get screamed at – and gosh, don’t we all need a good screaming-at from time to time? – I can just go switch off Alphablocks. I’m good for yelling, thanks.