When John was three, we were waiting for a table in a restaurant. He climbed up on a bench and was pointing out the window, saying "Pider-Shishie, Pider-Shishie!!!" in an inappropriately loud and exuberant manner. As his mother, I knew I was the only likely candidate to figure out what this utterance meant. He desperately wanted me to share in his revelation.
I had a two-fold translation issue. John had some mild articulation difficulties so I first had to figure out what he was trying to say. Then, I had to figure out what he meant.
My eyes darted from place to place through the window. I couldn't fathom what he was so excited about. The first translation finally dawned on me: Spider Fishie. OHHHHH! Ok, now, what the heck is a spider-fishie?
At last, I spy the restaurant across the street: Red Lobster. You know, it kinda looks like a spider and it lives in water. "John, do you see the sign for Red Lobster!" Yes, that was right! He exulted and started walking his fingers up the back of the bench and across my face and on the walls.
I marveled at the way he so brilliantly defined something out of the words he had available to him. He would do this again and again as he got older. My husband and I said many times that he just sees the world in such a different way than everyone else. When we saw things from his unique perspective, it always made perfect sense.
We didn't realize how well we actually knew him. He DOES see the world differently. He was diagnosed this year, at age 11, with Aspergers syndrome. I realize, all along, I've been trying to learn to speak John so that he can share his brilliant observations with the world and to communicate to him how the rest of the world works. Knowing he has Aspergers is like suddenly being given a language to language dictionary. It doesn't mean I speak the language like a native, but it does mean I have a readily available and immensely helpful reference for communicating with John.
I'd like to welcome you to join me as I continue to learn to speak Aspergers from my son and discover all the amazing pider-shishies along the way.