Back story #1
Dude has a very good memory when it comes to holidays and annual events such as vacation, DCI’s local performance, and football season.
This is ironic because we don’t quite know what Dude’s concept of time is. We know that he notices the changing of seasons, but we don’t know if he gets the passage of weeks, months, years, etc.
My parents don’t write anything on the kitchen calendar.. all that’s on there are the standard holidays. So we can’t quite figure out how, like clockwork, at least a month before a favorite special event or holiday, Dude starts talking about it.
At the beginning of every November it’s, “No Christmas gifts. No Christmas gifts,” over and over and over. (To understand Dude’s use of the word “No,” please see the Dude Language Guide.)
In January? “No Valentine’s Day.”
In April? “No Cape May.” (He jumps the gun on this one. We don’t go until July.. however, it’s a highly-anticipated event for him.)
Back story #2
One of the characteristics of autism is that an individual appears as if they’re “in their own world.”
At first glance, you may think that Dude fits this criteria very well.
Don’t be fooled.
He’s listening. Even when you think he isn’t.
Most importantly, he reads ANYTHING that’s lying out.
Novels? Not quite.
But he loves looking through store circulars, the mail, notes Mom writes for herself, coupons, etc.. Especially if he’s supposed to be eating and they’re on the kitchen table.
For quite some time, we thought Dude only recognized the names and logos of different stores.
The Dude is not to be underestimated.
My parents have a lot on their minds these days. Basically, this means they have to write down every single thing they have to do or else they’re going to forget to do it. (They can’t get mad at me for saying this because they know that it’s 100% true!)
The other morning, Mom remembered that she wanted to look in the attic for a particular Halloween sound toy for Dude.
Before she ran upstairs to get Dude ready for his program, she scribbled a hasty note to herself that read: “H-ween S. Bk.”
Once they got back downstairs, Dude glanced at the note on the kitchen table and then looked at Mom.
“No Halloween Spell Book,” he said.
H-ween. S. Bk.?
Turns out it means Halloween Spell Book.
It also turns out that Dude understands shorthand.
And THAT my friends, is why you should never underestimate someone with special needs.