Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Autism Devotion to ... Brothers



My wife and I went out to dinner last weekend, to celebrate her birthday.

My eldest finished his dinner quickly and didn't want any more to eat.  My youngest however was still keen to eat and had a couple of portions of mine.

The eldest wandered over to the restaurant's fish tank, stayed for a second or two and then came running back to tell us, particularly his brother, about the fish.  At our urging, he went off again (he was very loud) and spent a few more seconds with the fish before coming back to explain their toileting habits to his brother.

The pattern repeated over and over again and I could see that his brother was a little miffed by the constant banter and tugging.  He just wanted to finish his meal in peace.

I watched the behaviour for quite a while and even though my wife and I said, on several occasions, "don't annoy your brother, can't you see he's eating", the "harassment" continued.

I think we were all very grateful when his brother finished his meal and went to join him with the fish.

The Point
My eldest clearly wanted to spend time with his brother but at no point in the proceedings did he think to say "I'd like you to spend some time with me" or even "come and play".  The banter was all about the fish. It involved a lot of gesturing, babbling and a fair amount of pushing and tugging on both the younger brother and his chair.

We are a family used to this somewhat non-verbal behaviour and our youngest, like us understood the signals for what they were.

In any other situation, the behaviour would probably be viewed as harassment and not what it truly was; brotherly love.

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