A Bright Idea, Literally

My son is very literal. It comes with his autism.

A few weeks ago when we were on the coast, he brought a bunch of stones into the house. They are stones from the path that runs round the side of the house. He played with them and then left them on the floor. I said, “Hey, throw these stones outside.”

He collected them, walked to the backdoor, opened it and threw them outside and onto the patio.

That was outside, very literally.

Next time, I told myself, be more specific about throwing the stones on the path round the side of the house.

No matter, that’s what my five-year-old son is like. Exact and literal. He’s my own Amelia Bedelia, if you’ve ever heard of the protagonist from the series of children’s books. Amelia was once left instructions to draw the curtains. So she got a piece of paper and a pen and, well, drew the curtains.

It can be helpful to be so literal.

My son came up to my wife with his skateboard when we were in the city apartment and told her he wanted to go to Pinamar, to our house on the coast. My wife looked at him and asked if he wanted to take his skateboard to Pinamar.

He looked at her as if she’d grown two heads.

“Nooooo…” he said. “We go driving to Pinamar, not on my skateboard.”

It makes sense.

He does miss the house on the coast. The forest, the garden and the open spaces for running around. It beats a crowded apartment in a busy city.

“Hey,” he said. “I’ve got an idea. Why don’t we bring the house here and take the apartment to Pinamar.”

It’s a thought – and for him a real possibility, literally.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • Anonymous June 11, 2010, 8:32 am

    Hay un cuento que se llama Epaminondas. Los niños SON así LITERALES. Si les dices algo se lo toman al pie de la letra. A veces creemos que entienden todo lo que les decimos… vaya sorpresa que podemos llevarnos.
    Poli todavía no entiende que "lasaña" es todo junto y suele pedirme más "saña"
    Buena idea lo de traer la casa a BsAs, no olvidéis los pinos y el mar! un beso. Elina

  • Charles Newbery June 12, 2010, 1:17 pm

    Que interesante. Y que divertido lo de la la-sana!
    Vamos a traer un pino y el mar a Buenos Aires, seguro.

  • Tristan de Chalain June 14, 2010, 5:03 am

    Great to read about another kid with Autism. Sounds like my boy who has Asperger's. he's now 16, but we were iving in Toronto when the diagnosis was made at about age 2. For the first few years I can't honestly say that i liked Matt much, but I always loved him and now we are really close.Years of effort and using the carrot rather than the stick have helped enormously. Along the way, I too found that his "literalness" was one of his most appealing traits and once he'd learned a few by rote social responses he was away. Of course, it helped that he had a big sister who adored him and still, as a teenager , shows him the social ropes and reviews his dress to ensure he achieves the X-factor in sartorial cool, helps. He'll always be a bit of an odd-bod, but hey, he's our boy and we wouldn't change him for all the tea in china.
    Good luck with the world cup and your divided allegiances.
    Tristan de Chalain, Auckland , NZ
    www. dechalain1615.blogspot.com
    Author of "Wolf's Paw"

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