Observations of an Autism Teen Club

Recently, I sat just outside the door to my son’s Autism Teen Club meeting. These meetings take place bi-weekly with one meeting taking place at the facility while the other taking place somewhere within the community (within a twenty mile radius of the facility).

What happened while I was sitting there?

As an experience people-watcher/listener, I began by listening to one teen who sat about ten feet inside the room across from another teen.

This teen was chatting nonstop. His preferred topics was sports.

He began talking about basketball and the rules of basketball, apparently explaining some of the rules to the other kid. Then, he moved onto baseball and the rules of baseball, and finally onto football and the rules of football.

He did seem to segue, though. He started talking about each sport by expressing his opinion on said sport.

To me, I could swear it was one long monologue.

And, I never heard the other kid say anything, even though my sports-loving kid did try to ask a few questions. (“Do you like basketball?)

It was such a rather typical autistic-like ramble on a preferred topic. The child was in a social setting with a peer and he HAD to talk—about what he wanted to talk about.

And, boy, did he know a lot about the rules of those sports!

Did I notice anything else?

Of course I did.

Closer to me, a teen was putting up Halloween decorations. He was having trouble with the tape, and then wasn’t happy when he couldn’t get the decoration to sit straight.

And, he was doing all of this while cursing. A lot of cursing.

Some of it was quiet, some of the words were audible. He never shouted them, but I heard a few as did a couple of other parents.

I use curse words, but I try to use them sparingly. And, they are not a part of my vocabulary. Then, are usually used by me when I’m angry or frustrated. Or, really need to get my point across.

My son, on the other hand, very rarely utters a curse word. He says he doesn’t like them. He knows most of them by now, and has decided that he doesn’t like to use them.

Now, I know this second child is probably using them (over using them) as yet another way to verbally stim. This second example is a bit more jarring, I suppose, and a couple of times I almost asked him to stop using so many. But, I didn’t. It wasn’t my place.

To me, it was just another angle/example of verbal stimming in the autism world.

Of course, the cursing example didn’t end there.

What happened?

Later on, I was inside the room picking up my son. My son was playing a game on his DS with another peer. And, this peer proceeded to curse as he was playing the game.

Then, a surprising thing happened, my son apologized for the kid’s curse word—to me.

He knew I had noticed it, and subtly reacted to the use of the word.

So, I guess my son felt the need to apologize for him.

I told him he didn’t need to do that. He knows I know curse words (and use them on occasion). But, he didn’t need to apologize to me when it came to someone else’s behavior.

Basically, it didn’t bother me that much.

It was, however, surprising to hear my son apologize like that.

Yet another autism-related (and even typical) surprise from my teenaged son.


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