Jay : Who swapped my good gel pen for THIS? *holds up a regular ball point pen in disgust*
Ace : First of all, I’m not answering any questions without my lawyer present.
Me : *Takes bow for my excellent parenting skills in teaching Ace his rights*
We were launched into a full-fledged court proceeding with Jay serving as prosecutor, jury and judge. He would not stop until he had solved the mystery of the missing pen – and truly, the entire thing was quite entertaining.
I was deemed innocent due to having no motive since I had given him the now missing pen in the first place. Next, Ace was deemed innocent due to his willingness to let Jay borrow his gel pen. That meant, through the process of elimination, Shaunie was found guilty of pen theft. She vehemently denied the charges, but without an alibi, her goose was cooked.
One of the 3 main characteristics of autism is impaired social skills; and we have certainly had many moments where his impairment was severe and noticeable. Too though – and more often than not these days – there are moments when Jay’s social skills amaze me. Moments like that “courtroom hearing” where he seemed to perfectly understand all the typical features of pretending and sarcasm and teasing and hyperbole.
There are still instances though where he hits a bump in the road – so to speak.
Jay came home from school upset and confused about a situation that had taken place earlier in the day. For some unknown reason he had told a classmate that she has buck teeth. Of course, it hurt her feelings and she complained to the teacher who made Jay apologize. The problem is that he didn’t understand what he had done wrong.
“I wasn’t making fun of her. I didn’t laugh at her. I just told her that she has buck teeth. She does have buck teeth.”
It was quite a task trying to explain to him that while he may not have meant to hurt her feelings, he had so it was his job to fix it. His intention was not the point. I told him that in general it isn’t a good idea to talk about someones looks unless you are saying something nice. I tried to explain that his observation probably made her feel self-conscious and therefore, feel badly.
He wasn’t getting it.
Or maybe he was pretending not to get it. Sometimes it’s hard to tell with him because I know him and I know he’d rather pretend that he doesn’t know something than to own up to doing something wrong. Not that he’d outright lie, but, usually I can see it on his face the moment the connection is made. The confused look gives way to a smirk (which he tries to hide by lowering his head). This one was tough. I’m still not sure where his head is at with this.
One thing I do know is that when it comes to getting what he wants, he knows how to play the game and his social skills are impeccable. He lost a tooth recently and “the tooth fairy” forgot to put the money under the pillow. Jay knows about the tooth fairy *wink wink*, but he still likes to keep up the charade. You know, money and all that. When he asked why the tooth fairy hadn’t come by with money, I told him that I’d simply forgotten and that I’d just hand him the cash. His response? He started giggling and said, “OK. I’ll take it. But can the tooth fairy still come too? I want to be rich.”