Talking is not always a good thing

talk My brother can’t talk. He can say some things, but he can’t really hold a conversation. He says full sentences such as “I want a taco.”

I went on a school trip last week to the middle of nowhere, New Mexico. I’m not sure how wide spread Autism  is out there, but I was pretty sure nobody knew what was going on with one of our girls.

This girl can talk. Actually, all she does is talk and she doesn’t really say anything. She says things like, “I have a seizure disorder,” and “Was it mine or yours?” all the time. She’ll say it over and over and over again. I know how to tune things out after 13 years of living with an autistic boy, but when it’s actual language it is sort of different.

Sometimes I wonder what my brother would say to people if he could talk. How much would it freak people out? My mom and I laugh about it a lot. My brother does things like shove his coke glass at waiters when he wants more to drink. The look on the waiter’s face is pretty classic when he does that stuff.

Sometimes though, when he does things like announce that he’s going to take a crap on the top of his lungs by yelling “Dump! Dump!” I think to myself, “Thank God he can’t talk.”

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0 thoughts on “Talking is not always a good thing

  • August 28, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    @Joysofmotherhood@xanga – exactly. I don’t literally thank god my brother can’t talk. I mean…really? exaggeration and sarcasm can be hard to express on paper….or internet pages.

    @Cookstergirl88@xanga – My brother is the happiest person I’ve ever met. You know the saying ignorance is bliss? It’s true. Autistic kids don’t have to worry about the economy, your grandma’s smelly feet, they don’t care if their hair looks ugly, they don’t have to pretend to be interested in how you beat the highest level on the hardest video game you’ve ever played. Give my brother a hug, mac n cheese, a taco, ice cream, a night at the movies, a game of driveway basketball, maybe watch a Cowboy Game and he’ll love you forever. That is not an exaggeration. All that shit about how they can’t love people or have emotions, is exactly that. It’s shit. I’ve seen my brother get angry, he laughs every time my dog lets one go, he cries. What people really need to realize is that mental illnesses are actually physical, because there has to be something physically wrong with your brain for you to be mentally ill.

  • August 28, 2009 at 11:38 am

    I think this got blown way out of proportion. as far as teaching autistic kids to speak……. there is such a wide spectrum to autism that kids are affected differently. some may talk, some may say a few things, and some may never speak. kids with autism go through so much therapy just so they can say basic things. my son is three and had the language of an 18 month old. its verry hard at times, especially when we are out some where and he wants some thing., example:
    we were in tennessee on vacation this past may. we went out to breakfast and brenden ( my son) wanted something other then his orange juice to drink. we tried showing him pictures of the drinks to get him to point to one. he went into a full blown tantrum and my husband took him to the bathroom to calm him down while i stayed with our younger son. an older couple across the aisle from us were looking at me like i had three head. the husband goes to say to his wife ” what a shame and his mother just sits there like nothing is happening, she doesnt deserve to have kids” so i in turn lost my temper and walked over the the man an asked, ” do you have any idea what its like to live with an autistic child” he goes ” i raised two daughters just fine” i say ” im sure they werent autistic either were they?” ” hes says, theres nothing wrong with your son except not having good parents, your obviously not spending enough time with him or teaching him”

    i tell you this story to show you just how ignorant people can be about autistic kids/people. They dont understand. I understand where the OP is coming from. I want nothing more then to hear my little boy say I love you mommy…… but there is time that im in a way relieved that he doesnt talk when hes going off on a dr or someone, not to be taken as im glad my son doesnt talk. and im sure thats not hope the OP meant it either.

  • August 28, 2009 at 1:59 am

    I’ve had to quietly let people know that my normal-appearing kid has autism; he has normal likes and wants of any teen, he has the same desire to understand people around him – just that many of his communications confuse people who do not have immediate access to his inner world.

    Some statements can be awkward, I won’t go into detail but there are times when he does not intend humor, but gets all of us laughing; other times when you have to understand his particular sense of humor to see why he’s giggling so much.

    When the moments come off-guard, we’ll let people who don’t understand, “inside thing. Don’t worry”, then I’ll gloss over the non-event [specifically making a non-event of it]. It’s easier…

    Also: for what it’s worth, I was told when he was little that he, “might not talk at all” – a high-intensity series of speech-specific training sessions [hell for the both of us! ] manged to get us rudimentary speech skills – no social skills. Piece by piece.

    I understand the frustrations – and I understand how people want to candy-coat some things about battling, head-to-head, with trying to convey what [to the outside world] are simple concepts; I have to respect Mandie’s post, from the perspective of a sixteen-year-old – a normal sixteen-year-old whose world was mapped by being the eldest of two kids, one of whom is neurotypical, and one whose abilities are hampered by being in the autistic spectrum. 

    My son’s first spontaneous sentence ever spoken was when a member of our group had tried to quietly pass gas; he yelled out, “What smells?! Stop it! We go now!” Quietly told to stay quiet, he didn’t bother speaking at all for a couple years; many auties are quite literal…

    He would be angry at me to read that comment, as he is now more developed. He has the hardest time discerning “appropriate”, harder than neurotypials. Organization, rules, steps, and such is all that many of the kids can relate to; when given flexible variables, it’s quite confusing.

    I also have a few of these problems; I’m never certain when to shut up. I’ll shut up now. Best to you!

  • August 28, 2009 at 12:37 am

    @Cookstergirl88@xanga – I think the tone of your first post is what totally threw me off.  Saying someone definitely “can” do something when maybe that’s been pushed and tried over and over is disheartening to parents and siblings and teachers (and whoever, the list goes on) who have tried, who have done everything.  I have been pushing for a diagnosis for my daughter since she was 15 months old….so nearly 2 years now.  She was just diagnosed a month ago. 

    Autism has so many components and it is different with every person, so maybe your friend had a lesser in severity form of autism, and maybe things like that were possible with her.  And I’m not saying that my daughter (who is 3 right now) will never speak.  I know there are things out there to help her prosper.  And of course my husband and I, as her parents, will do EVERYTHING there is to help her do so. But there is a good chance because she is in the “moderate to severe” category (as in, she can’t follow instructions, etc.) that she will not be able to carry on a conversation with me like a lot of other kids can. 

    So sorry if I came down too hard on you, as well.  It’s just hard to hear what others think will work for your kid, especially if they haven’t met them.

    And I kind of agree with the author of the original post (though I vehemently disagreed with another post she made).  Autistic kids (and I think we can include down’s syndrome and other disorders) sometimes do say embarrassing things, and I don’t think it’s totally out of line to be glad that her brother doesn’t talk…. I know E’s screaming in public is embarrassing enough…. sometimes I think that if she did talk, no one would understand what she really meant and that would almost be even more frustrating than the simple signals she uses now (and I can relate to the pushing the glass toward the waitress!! E does that by handing me her cup).

  • August 28, 2009 at 12:29 am

    @Morningstarrising@xanga –  Its just something I’m trying to understand. We are all human no one is perfect I can only imange what its like.

    Just growing up all I heard were the negatives of autism I had a friend who seemed like the only person to believe that something could be done. I think she had a cousin who had autism. She shared her hurt and pain with me and her love of this family member.

    I just want to understand it more that’s all.

    And I know what you mean with alzheimer’s my grandmother had it.

    So yes I’m sorry for where I oversteped my bounds.

  • August 28, 2009 at 12:13 am

    @the_kcar@xanga – Thanks for that link. 🙂  I think they may be the answer to our sometimes all too familiar public meltdowns.

    I’ve also seen the ones that say “my child isn’t a brat; she just has autism.”  Those are less effective and a little too snarky to hand out to strangers.

  • August 28, 2009 at 12:08 am

    @Cookstergirl88@xanga – I didn’t say that you said it was not a REAL disease (so how about you read what I am writing, huh?), but there are lots of people out there who do believe this.  Do you know that special education camps sometimes exclude autistic children because it’s not as obvious of a disease as, say, cancer or asthma? Seriously.  And you are kind of projecting the same attitude.

    No one is saying that autistic kids are brainless.  But they do have a totally different way of viewing the world and not everything is all peachy keen.  It takes lots and lots of hard work for them to even be able to show you what they want.  For instance, my daughter is just now showing me that she wants to eat by climbing into her chair in the dining room.  She tells me she’s done by either getting up from the table or throwing food on the floor (depending on her frustration level).  Don’t you think that she wants to talk? Don’t you think that I (and her therapists) want her to talk? Of course we do.  Do you understand how frustrating it is to not be able to communicate with someone you love? Think about someone who has alzheimer’s (totally different condition).  They are not idiots or stupid or anything, but they have a brain disorder that won’t allow them to remember family members or to communicate what they want.  It’s the same case with autism, though obviously a very different condition.  And to me it seems that autism is not a degenerative disorder as alzheimer’s is so there is some hope of the individual with autism “getting better” to some extent.

    I’m not saying there is no hope, which is what you seem to think.  My daughter is starting preschool in 2 weeks and I think that is HUGE progress from where she was a year ago.  She is happy, and she is learning and growing, but there are still things about her that will always be different and no, she may not ever be able to talk, and probably won’t be able to carry on a conversation the way that you and I can.  But telling me or the author of this post that “someone should teach autistic kids to talk” is completely demeaning, degrading and useless when these kids have already endured hours upon hours of speech therapy.  Don’t you think we have TRIED? Put yourself in our shoes and then you might understand just a little better.

    And I’m not the one who made the comment about blindness, for what it’s worth.  And that is more of an obvious disease, compared to autism, where I often get comments like “why don’t you discipline your child? She needs to shut up” (when she cries in the store and I can’t figure out immediately what’s wrong).  Kids with autism are suffering from a semi-invisible disease.  It’s much like people with heart conditions who park in the handicap space at the grocery store.  Their condition isn’t automatically visible to everyone around them, so people yell because they aren’t in a wheelchair. 

    Have some sympathy and understanding instead of making ridiculous comments that are based in fallacy.

  • August 27, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    @Morningstarrising@xanga – I never said I didn’t think it was real disease, I do. Don’t put words in my mouth.

    But I just done with this. Are you reading what I am writing!

    Your not.

    Blindness is a real disease too along with the countless other diseases out there.  Physical to brain disease I know there are many.

    All I hear about kids with ‘special’ needs is people bitching and moaning and making them sound brainless and I am sick of it.

    If the idea is to help them live a full happy life then show that to us ( people who don’t deal with it day to day).

    Show me a happy learing growing  autistic child or person show us  how well they are doing and where they are going.

  • August 27, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    @Cookstergirl88@xanga – These kids are held back? Are you kidding me? Most of these kids endure hours upon hours of therapy, whether it be speech, occupational, or physical therapy.  You have no idea what it’s like to be a parent to an autistic kid and to hear something as asinine as your comment.  Since you clearly have never been around autistic kids, stop making assumptions about how they really are, since you clearly have NO idea.  Do ten minutes of research and you’ll realize that autism is a brain disorder.  It’s not something you can just switch on and off and that can be fully fixed with therapy. 

    I’m all about a positive attitude, but comments like yours make me realize that we as parents and teachers of autistic children have a lot to teach the world about the disease.  No wonder there is so little research funding – because people don’t think it’s a “real” disease and that it can be cured so freaking easily.

  • August 27, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    @Dr3ss3ed2th39ns –   Then don’t make it sound like your brother is such a bother to your life.

    And yes there has been advances in science I’ve seen a documentary on it that has help blind people to see so yes it can be done.

    The human mind is powerful, it is all about mindset.

  • August 27, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    @Morningstarrising@xanga – If I am wrong I am sorry. But maybe they just need to be taught, maybe they want to talk if they can put together a few words to make a sentence then heck I think they can learn to speak like a normal person. It may take time but they deserve it.

    The power of the human mind is amazing. No I don’t know what its like to be around an autistic kid but its clear to me this kid can learn and wants to.

    Sorry but I grew up taught that people shouldn’t be held back.

    I may have not been around autisitc kids but I know of a handful who are a hell of alot smarter then me.

    It seems to me that these kids are being held back but hell I am ignorant.

  • August 27, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    @Cookstergirl88@xanga – That is one of the most ignorant statements I’ve ever read.  Do a little research on the number of autistic kids who can actually carry on a conversation before you make assumptions like this.

  • August 27, 2009 at 7:49 am

    My oldest kid has only his high-functioning, moderately autistic kid brother to deal with; he’s 16, but with the bearing of an average 21-year-old, while his kid brother is 15, has incredible intelligence, but the emotional ability/capacity of someone far younger. Life gets hard, either way – harder as the oldest.

    With my older sister, there were times that she and I would break down to fisticuffs over something completely inane – it wasn’t until she had long moved out, and we had each gone in different directions, that we actually got along well.

    I skimmed through your posts – you are the eldest child, which automatically forces you into the position of authority [or as you said, “Mom2”] – that, on its own, is hard enough. Having a kid brother with developmental delays who shows no appearance of differences is hell, I am sure.

    My youngest – until he gets past initial greeting to people – has every appearance of a normal kid. I’ve heard kids comment that my son has good looks, and he stands 5’10”, blond and unique blue eyes – both kids have the unique appearance of models, though different in stature. He does, often, “freak people out”. You can’t let it tear you up – and it’s hard to just laugh with it.

    I’ve helped others who are within the autistic spectrum. I tripped across something on the ‘net that may help: – it’s a PDF file that has cards which read:

    O U R   C H I L D   H A S   A U T I S M
    We’d like to thank you for your concern. We are making every attempt to allow ourchild, who is
    affected by Autism, to experience every day activities that others may take for granted.

    For more information about Autism, please contact the Autism Society of America at1-800-328-8476 or visit

    They have the autism puzzle ribbon on them, and, in my son’s earlier years, they came in handy. If you can get hold of a printer and run a few off, it helps a lot! – especially when you find yourself getting sick of explaining the same thing, over and over again…

    Best to you…

  • August 26, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    @Cookstergirl88@xanga – You sound really stupid. It’s taken him 13 years to say “I want a taco.” I think I explained pretty damn well why I’m glad he can’t talk. It freaks people out. (Especially when he’s 5’7 blond hair blue eyed, good looking kid.) He looks so freakishly normal that people just don’t get it.

  • August 26, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    “Thank God he can’t talk”

    What the fuck!? Why would you say that?

    He can he just needs someone to teach him. Why would you deprive someone of speech? It may take more time but he can learn to talk.


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