This whole parenting autism malarkey is very tricky. Especially the bit where Little Person becomes obsessed with particular things. Years later, I still have chunks of script from Octonauts episodes floating through my head (Explore! Rescue! Protect!). Dora the Explorer left permanent scars on my psyche (don’t you dare mention backpack).
But somebody mentioned to me via Facebook that Pokemon was created by a guy with ASD (that’s autism spectrum disorder), and that it actually had a very positive message. I put an episode on for Little Person a few weeks back, and she didn’t seem impressed. Stylistically it is very different from what she is used to watching. But she started watching it on the iPad. And then earlier this week, she was unwell, and needed to rest. Which resulted in her watching a 4 hour marathon on the TV. Which resulted in me watching a 4 hour marathon on the TV. She now has parts of the script floating through her brain. I’m not quite there yet.
But we have been able to have some unexpected conversations. About autism traits (Little Person knows she has a tricky brain, but remains uncertain as to how this impacts on her life), expressing emotion, working towards a goal and working as a team. About how people are different, and what that can mean. I even managed to uncover some unpleasantness that has been happening at school (girls can be so mean). It’s remarkably easy to follow, considering how complex some of the underlying principles are.
Once again, I am learning to re-examine my motives, put my assumptions in the cupboard (or sometimes even the bin), and look at the world from Little Person’s perspective, instead of mine.