See that question in the title? It’s a common and yet fairly ignorant question and I’ll tell you why it’s ignorant. It assumes that every child with autism has some savant super ability that puts them on a pedestal or makes them a circus attraction. This is a situation explained in the book Understanding Autism for Dummies. Be sure to check that book out if you haven’t already.
So where does the confusion come in? Aren’t we always pointing out the cool things our kids can do? Why do we do that? We do that because we want others to know that our kids can do just as well as any skilled child without autism. We don’t do it because we want out kids to be circus attractions. We don’t do it because we want it assumed that all autistic kids have some special ability.
Do we have special abilities? Maybe, but our attention to detail for our special interest (for those of us who fit that description)really don’t make us any better than someone highly skilled in their own profession. We just want it known that we can fit in somewhere, there is a place for us. It’s part of wanting that understanding.
So, for those parents who feel sick in the gut at strangers asking them that special question, I have some fun answers for you. This is in the spirit of having a good laugh. Of course, if you feel your child has (or he/she actually does have) a “special skill” then that’s awesome. You should definitely go with what you feel best. Till then, here are some answers that will definitely stop the ignorant onlooker cold.
Person: Oh, autism? What is your child’s special skill?
-He juggles baboons while balancing on a rubber ball.
-He fights lions with his teeth.
-He’s a tax attorney. Not bad for 8 years old, right?
-He’s a stunt driver.
-He’s a brain surgeon.
-Why, he just joined Hell’s Angels. He sure loves his bike!
-He builds explosives.
-He’s a sword swallower.
-He’s a third world dictator. Took over two more countries just last week.
-He barks and chases cars.
-He’s a Marine Corp sniper.
-He’s a serial killer. Watch out if he gets his hands on a banana.
-He wrestles alligators.
-He’s a gangster mob boss.
-I don’t know, but he’s great at endangering himself daily.
-He puts pencils in places you couldn’t imagine.
-He can fly and shoot lasers out his eyeballs.
-He’s a professional bodyguard, do you need protection?
-He eats things, all sorts of things.
-He makes noises that will tear your ears off.
Of course, you could just tell them that he’s just like any other child but with a few differences. Even so, I hope you had a good laugh, we could all use one from time to time.