One of the things many kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) do is this thing called “scripting.” Scripting can look different, depending on the kid who is doing it.
Version 1: Some kids with ASD have a hard time identifying and explaining their emotions. Instead of saying, “I’m mad,” “I’m scared,” or “I’m sad,” a kid with ASD may quote a line from one of his favorite movies/TV shows/etc. where the character was experiencing that emotion.
For example, if you ask a child who is currently mad/exasperated to explain his emotions, he may respond, “YOU. ARE. A. TOOOOOOOOY.”
If you don’t know that this kid happens to LOVE the movie Toy Story, you will not understand his response. You will think it has absolutely nothing to do with the question regarding his current emotional state.
However, if you have context (and/or have a great memory for movie quotes), you may understand that the child is channeling Woody’s emotional state in that scene. He is extremely angry and frustrated at Buzz.
Version 2: Some kids with ASD are anxious individuals. They don’t like it when their environments are unpredictable. When faced with uncertainty, some may script as a means of comforting themselves. The lines and inflections are always the same and predictable. It’s soothing for them to know that they can control this aspect of their environment.
Version 3: Some kids script/quote simply because they like it.
I’d say that Dude follows the pattern of Version 3. He doesn’t compulsively script, but if he hears a word or phrase that reminds him of something from a movie or TV show, you best believe he’s going to finish out that quote. Case in point, my post from this past Tuesday.
You could argue that Dude is this way because his family is this way.. Especially Dad and me.
There isn’t a conversation between us that doesn’t involve some kind of quoting from some movie, TV show, YouTube video, etc. (Favorites: How I Met Your Mother, The Whole Nine Yards, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Friends, David Blaine’s Street Magic, and Finding Nemo, to name a few.)
I recently discovered a new YouTube video to add to my list of favorite quotable things.
I showed it to my parents and they of course thought it was one of the most adorable videos ever. So now we randomly say, “WHOA!” “We gonna cwack ’em??” and “Yum um um um um um” a lot. Like embarrassingly a lot.
It didn’t take very long for Dude to catch on.
Earlier this week as they were discussing what to eat for dinner, and for some reason, Dad said, “WHOA!”
Dude was standing behind him and immediately added on, “Yum umumumumumum!”