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Thursday, April 04, 2013

Autism April Fools

Autism Acceptance Month:

Imagine what it's like to wake up and know an entire day is going to be devoted to doing all the things you find most confusing, most bewildering and most hurtful. Welcome to Autism and April Fools Day. 

On Monday morning, Nathan got up and was already in tears and distraught. I thought he had a bad dream. He kept telling me he didn't know what was wrong. So we got dressed and ready for school. Five minutes before he has to leave, he says to me, "Today should be a holiday!"
Me: "Since it's Easter Monday?"
N: "No. Because how are you supposed to know if homework is really assigned or if it's a big joke."
Enlightenment comes to me swiftly here. Now I know why we are running at top anxiety this morning. 
Me: "Nathan, I don't think your teachers would really do that. And if they did, they will make a BIG DEAL out of telling you it's a joke...but I really don't think they will."

From there we discussed that friends are most likely to pull jokes. And not big, scary, messy ones like we see on TV. Just average "your shoe is untied--April Fools" jokes. I calmed him down as best as I could and sent him on his way...then ran to the computer and emailed every teacher to give them a heads up. One very lovely teacher emailed and said she would personally walk him to his last class of the day because it is downstairs and he would be most likely to find pranksters on the stairwell. She swore to keep him safe to his class. And she did. 

He told me 4-5 friends tried to tell him his shoes were untied. One tried to tell him he spilled some of his lunch on his shirt. That was it. All that anxiety for almost nothing. But think about it--if you can't read facial expressions or body language, you have trouble telling the difference between sarcasm and sincerity, and pragmatic language and idioms (such as raining cats and dogs, laughed my head off) seems literal to you, how anxious would a day of practical jokes be to you?

We are thankful he made it through the day (and teachers backed off in his class and didn't play jokes). Hopefully next year will be less anxious. But all in all, it's just another autistic day in my house.

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