A little something for Autism Awareness Month

10 Apr

 The invitation for the birthday party arrived a couple of weeks before the date. I use the couple of days before the party to try and explain things to Tom. We watch  an episode of Something Special where Tom gets a refresher course on birthday cakes and Happy Birthday and Bullet gets a refresher course on ensuring that if you are going to watch a dvd to death, don’t pick a beloved one that can only be got via mail order. I ask Tom what his friend likes to play with . He pauses and then announces.

 “W bread and Tom bread!”

  I am tempted to buy a loaf of Warburtons, but decide it probably wouldn’t go down well as a good present for a five year old.

  After rejecting musical instruments (too noisy), baby toys (too patronising perhaps), drawing things (what if he has motor difficulties) and playdough I opt for a set of toy kitchen scales. Upon getting home and trying to wrap it I realise it wasn’t the greatest idea to pick something that is almost impossible to cover with ease. The difficulties involved in the logistics of this are solved by passing it to my husband to sort out. I am secretly gratified when he returns it to me with a small tear at the top, “because it wouldn’t wrap well.”

 We arrive at the village hall where the party is about ten minutes before it was due to start, thanks to traffic being worse than we anticipated. I kiss Jacob goodbye, asking his dad to take him somewhere nice whilst the party is going on and I then walk with Tom into the room. He is very quiet and stands stock still, not moving. The mother of the birthday lad steps forward to greet us.

 “Tom” I say and sign “say “hello”

 He looks towards the fire extinguisher (I will be compelled to read the instructions and manufacturing information on this extinguisher later) and addresses an “ErHeh” to that. The mother smiles at him. Then there is a flurry of movement and a small lad comes racing up.

 “Oh!” he announces happily. “Here is Tom! I been waiting for Tom and now he’s here!”

 Tom appears to ignore him. I ask him to say “hello” to the lad and get no response. I point out the balloons (much loved by Tom) and step back.

 Five minutes later he has picked up a balloon and is running round following the birthday lad, the pair of them giggling and racing round the room. There is no conversation, no set games, just two little boys who like each other and want to run as fast as they can. When Musical Bumps is announced Tom sees this as another opportunity to run round and likes that part so much he keeps running long after the music has stopped and all the other children have sat down.

 A few days later we are in town. As we walk up the street Tom pulls in one direction.

“A go a number 20!” he announces. This is what he calls the shopping centre. “A number 4!”

 “Ok” I tell him “We shall go to the shopping centre. We shall go in the lift.”

 He is quiet for a minute and then announces.

 “A balloon! A W candle a Tom balloon!”

 The party, it seems, was a great success.

One Response to “A little something for Autism Awareness Month”

  1. Steve D April 11, 2008 at 05:05 #

    Bullet –
    I have so missed your posts. Of all the words I read on the internet, none settle quite so deeply as yours. And I don’t think its just me who feels it, as I recall comments to your other posts on this blog many months ago.
    Cheers to you and Tom and Husband and Jacob!

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