Do the boys get on well together?
Yes. I suppose they do to a certain extent. I have to spend a lot of time explaining who meant what and why they did it because the facial expression thing is very difficult in a large family. I suppose in some ways it is indicative of what happens in the outside world, but Joe will say, “What are you giving me evils for?” when Luke is just eating a sandwich and then Luke goes, “Oh I am not even looking at you.” And then Sara says, “Oh I know you were. I have just seen you. You know, you were giving him a dirty look.” And then I have to say, “No he is just eating.” And then because Luke pulls a strange face because he doesn’t understand he looks like he is glaring and then of course everyone starts and those kind of things are always quite confusing. And of course they are also clumsy. You imagine living with five dyspraxic people. Everything is knocked over and smashed up every single day. You kind of get used to it. And carpets are a disposable item in this house. But generally they do. I mean it is just Anna and Rachael that and poor Anna often says she often feels like she is living in the Truman show.
I think a lot of the time Anna and Rachael find Joe the hardest to understand because in reality Joe is a very complex little boy. Little, he is not so little now but because he speaks so fast and because he is so articulate and because he can seem to be so high functioning, there is no allowances made for anything. Whereas when he was little and he was absolutely wild and he was biting people and that kind of thing it was more obvious but now, he wants to talk about girlfriends, well not for him yet, he is not up to that stage but everyone else is and because he is doing puberty everything is of some kind of sexual references gone on.
You know it is amazing how many times he can get that into conversation and it does seem quite ironic to be saying, “Get your dummy out of your mouth because you are making your spots worse.” It just doesn’t seem to go together somehow at all [laughs]. But, you know, they see him as being rude and being naughty whereas he is just being Joe and he has not learnt the social skills and he has not learnt the communicational skills and he isn’t at the level to be able to yet to get through that kind of stuff yet. So all of his rudeness they take quite a lot of offence to. You know, “Er what are you wearing that for,” and “What a freak. Don’t you think you look weird in that.” And really those are the kind of things that when you live with people on the spectrum you just have to accept it. You can try and teach to the best of your ability politeness and tact and stuff and Luke can do it now but Joe can’t. He has not got that yet and there’s other priorities.
I think a lot of the time that is what is important about parenting people on the spectrum is picking your priorities and dealing with that one and you can’t just address the whole lot all in one go because if they were doing something that is really inappropriate, like picking their bum in public or something like that then you know that is what you deal with, you don’t go dealing with tact or whatever else, you focus on that one. You know or pooing somewhere or something like that. You know things that are really aren’t done. You know those are the things you have to address before you go onto the more subtle aspects of things.
Luke often thinks he is Mr Accomplished who can run this perfect emulator but in reality he gets just as much wrong now as he did when he was two. It is just different. That is one of the things about it I suppose.