Today a friend came round to play. A new friend. From the new school. TheBoyWhoDoesn'tStopTalking is a couple of years older. He's brilliant. He calls everybody 'Sir'. I told him he could call me John. He said that felt strange, so I said he could call me 'The Boy's Dad'. He said he'd do that. Sir.
TheBoyWhoDoesn'tStopTalking is now my favourite person. I have never known a twelve year old boy walk into a room before and comment on “what a beautiful sofa you have”. When I asked him if he would like a drink it took twelve minutes to reply that he wasn't really feeling thirsty, but he did like the flavours of certain drinks, and so he would like a drink only for the taste rather than to quench his thirst and that he was allowed fizzy drinks, as he knows some children aren't, but he is - apart from Fanta, not that there is anything in Fanta that means he isn't allowed it, it's just that Fanta is his favourite, favourite drink and he really, really likes it and the thought of drinking it makes him so excited that he can't control himself. This was followed with numerous anecdotes about occasions in his life when he'd had a drink.
The major difference between The Boy and TheBoyWhoDoesn'tStopTalking, is that the latter knows he's autistic. He refers to it a lot. The Boy has no concept that he is, at least as far as I know. So I tried to steer the conversation on to that subject, as I think The Boy might understand better from his peers rather than from me. TheBoyWhoDoesn'tStopTalking spoke at length about how his autism makes him talk a lot, makes it hard for him to make friends because he knows he talks too much but he can't stop and about how it makes him get angry inside sometimes because he can't find the right words even though his head is full of words and that sometimes he talks a lot because he's just looking for the right word to say. At one point he paused for a breath, and I managed to get a question in... “What does it feel like being autistic?”
“It just feels like... like Me, sir”.
And surely there's no better thing any of us can be.
This blog is about bringing up The Boy. He's 12 years old and autistic. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.