“Both of us writing this post is fine. We are working together,” Emma typed just now.
But first a short explanation is needed: Twice a week Emma has an in person typed “chat” with her friend, Joey. Yesterday’s chat was a little different because the person Joey usually writes with on Mondays was ill, so I asked Joey if he’d be okay with me holding the keyboard for both him and Emma. He gave me the go-ahead and so I alternated between them, each taking a turn to type.
During their chat, Emma did what she often does, which is talk out loud. Often she will talk about things that happened in the past, as in, “Maddy needs to sit down. Maddy wasn’t nice to Emma” or it can be about the future as in, “chat with Joey, get groceries, German, Math, Skype call with Granma, see Daddy, have dinner, sleep, wake-up, Skype call with Dr. C….” Emma wrote, “When my brain gets busy it remembers things that have been said to me or what I have heard.” I wrote about this recently – Scripts – A Communication Bridge
As Emma and Joey typed with each other, Emma said aloud her nickname for Joey – JoeyAllison. This is a nickname Emma came up with a few months ago when Joey unexpectedly appeared in the same place that someone named Allison had been, the last time we were in the building.
What follows is their chat, which they both agreed to share on this blog (I added punctuation to clarify with Emma’s approval):
J: I begin this, you go next, not Monday schedule threw me.
(J. has a daily schedule and his and Emma’s “chat” wasn’t listed for Monday.)
E: How was your thanksgiving?
J: Good food I like, how about yours?
E: Thanksgiving in two parts is the best way to celebrate holiday of gratitude.
(Emma kept saying out loud “JoeyAllison”)
J: Liking nickname not much, but tolerating since hoping you will find another more likable.
E: Joeyallison is etched into my brain, so hard to overwrite, but I will try.
J: Knowing you make an effort helps, thanks.
E: I don’t mean to hurt your feelings. It’s meant in friendship.
Later Joey’s mom told me Joey’s middle name, which is oddly similar to the name Emma has taken to calling him. I told Emma what his middle name was and she said it out loud several times, as though she were trying it out and then said, “good.” Then she typed, “I will call Joey by his first and middle name to his face, if my mouth obeys, because he’s my friend while secretly saying JoeyAllison to myself.”
I am always struck by how routine is necessary to children with autism and to me as a writer. I thrive on the new routine of being unemployed and being able to center my days around writing, working with dogs, and volunteering. I wonder if routine is necessary to other creative people as well?
LOL! Go Ms Em.😊 that girl makes my heart happy. Love to read Emma’s Hope page. Emma, you rock! I’m so happy that you share your life and experiences with us. I learn from you.
How neat! I am glad to have stumbled on your page.
DANG. I wish a small fraction of the adults in control of our world could be even close to this respectful of one another.
Thank you Emma for sharing your thoughts and how your brain works. It helps Katrina and me a lot.
It’s so great that Emma and Joey have each other everybody needs friends.
She is so brilliant, I loved this, and so happy to see their connection!
Hi! I am working on putting together a book for and by neurologically diverse kids, and I wondered if Emma might be interested in participating. I read your blog a lot and I know she has some great thoughts and ideas. I have a page on my blog about it here: http://diaryofanalien1.blogspot.com/p/new-book-project.html. I am probably not going to make much of a profit, but I am hoping to at least send each kid who participates a copy of the book, and if I make profits beyond that I will be looking for a way that I can share it among all participants! She won’t have to share her full name or anything else that she, or you, are not comfortable having shared.
The internet is a Godsent for autistic people. We are now able to chat, email, comment in blogs, and write in forums. These are the kind of friends that aren’t so intimidating to an autistic person, online friends. Non-verbal autistic children can communicate through typing on ipads. They used not to have this option in the past. Nothing like modern technology.
Emma is one of those friendly autistic kids. I never wanted friends, even online, at least not those who walk on two…
Non-verbal doesnt necessarily mean not friendly, not by a long shot. Emma does want a friend, or she wouldnt chat. It’s good that she found one.