Sunday, August 16, 2009

we are all in of milk

Martin struggles with prepositions. His tutor works with him on concepts such as under, between, through, during, etc. They play a game called "Prepositions Bingo," which features little pictures of a dog and a barn. Martin has to figure out the relationship of the dog to the barn. Is he on top of it? Under it? Is he running around it? The rest of us just absorb this form of language. Somehow, Martin's brain doesn't. It has to trained. Well, on some days it feels like it has to be forced.

Martin's difficulty learning language results in all sorts of goofy sentences. And you can't laugh because the poor kid can't say what's on his mind. He's confused by aberrations of grammar. Homonyms confound him. Even if his locutions are funny, you can't laugh unless you're the kind of person who laughs when people fall down.

Awhile back, Martin insisted that he was not my son. But he meant that he was not the sun. Tonight, he wanted a drink. He asked me if we were all out of milk. I said no. Satisfied, he said, "We are all in of milk." Is that sentence logical? Yes. Is it correct? No.

Martin's brain wants a world that operates by the rules. All toilets are for peeing in, not just the ones that aren't on display in Lowes. Every day should be a day for going to school, not just those between September and May. Tell the whole truth all the time, not adjusting for context or audience or whatever. Autistics are dying for the world to be consistent. Just life, rolling on, day after day, in which people do what they are expected to do. It's like their brains never need a break, never have to rest.

But even our language doesn't work that way. It breaks its own rules. And all of us typicals would die without sick days and vacations and the chance to be inconsistent at least once a day. Which world is better? Anymore, I don't know.


  1. It's like their brains never needs a break, never have to rest. Wow! This is really interesting and insightful. Keep plugging away, Jen. You are going to be a blessing to a lot of people with this blog.

  2. Thanks so much for writing, Jen. Just wanted you to know that I read your blog religiously.

  3. What continues to impress me on a continual basis, Jen, is how well you empathize with Martin's world--even though it is a foreign one. This is such a gift; and the fact that you try to see things from Martin's perspective is what makes you a great Mom (and a great communicator).