One of Paul’s obvious indicators of his autism is perseveration. Websters defines perseveration as ‘continuation of something (as repetition of a word) usually to an exceptional degree or beyond a desired point.’
We’ve experienced ‘beyond a desired point’ more than a few times! But sometimes even repeating something hundreds of times is an indicator of something precious, so it isn’t so bad.
Over the school break we took a quick trip to see my parents, Paul’s grandparents. About two minutes after we left their house to go home, Paul asked to go see grandma. I told him we were headed to our house, to which he said, ‘after the going to our house we’ll go to grandma’s house.’ He would take dozens of statements for the next hour, insert ‘after’ ahead of that statement and then add to the end, ‘we’ll go to grandma’s house.’ For example, ‘after the ride in the car, we’ll go grandma’s house’ or ‘after the sleep we’ll go to grandma’s house.’
It gets annoying, but its hard to be overly irritated when this boy is obviously declaring such wonderful affections for his grandma (he does that for grandpa, too, just not this trip). Last week he asked for his cousin Ben dozens of times, then he asked for his cousin John.
God is kind to give such good gifts as family who freely love a boy who has a hard time communicating his affections appropriately. Having heard stories of extended families who are less than loving towards their disabled members, I don’t take it for granted. And God is kind to give that boy the ability to let his affections be known to them, even in unusual ways.