Friday, February 1, 2013

Man Pictures and Paper Lights...

As I mentioned, Anderson was recently diagnosed with autism.  Let me tell is a LENGTHY testing process to get an autism diagnosis. We went through our local school system, and they were amazing. Not sure if it's because they know I'm a teacher who has been a part of many evaluations, ARC (Admission-Release Committee) meetings, and IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) writing sessions, but they did an outstanding job.  Getting the diagnosis involved many classroom observations of Anderson, as well as one-on-one evaluations with him, questionnaires by his teacher and myself, and finally an interview with his teacher and myself.  It was a lot, but they were very thorough, so I have no doubts at all about his diagnosis.

The parent interview was enlightening. The evaluator would ask me questions about things Anderson does, and it really made me think about all of the little quirky things he does.  One of the questions that really inspired a lot of thinking on my part was "Does your child create his own names for things?" Ever since Anderson really started talking a lot--probably this past summer--he has been the MASTER of coming up with his own names for things. I didn't realize this was one of the traits of many children with autism, but alas, it's true. And he's the pro.  We get a big kick out of it around here...we call them "Andersonisms", although it's a bit more like his own language.  Here are just a few examples of our common Andersonisms:

* "Paper-Light":  This could be anything from a tiny piece of paper to a CD case. He actually used to take tiny pieces of papers ("paper-lights") to bed with him and fall asleep with them in his hand, and then he'd wake up in the middle of the night and have dropped it, and cry until I went and retrieved it. Not a fun game.

* "Nails":  Our multiple sets of nail clippers; these became almost like a stuffed animal or lovey to him. He'd also sleep with them at times.

* "Skirtin'":  One of my personal favorites. :-)  If you're a Facebook friend, you know that Anderson's lovey/stuffed animal is Tofu. Tofu is actually from a trip I took to Japan about 6 years ago. Anderson found him and fell in love--they're inseparable. Tofu is a whole blog post onto himself--another day.  Anyway, Tofu does many things, and one of the noises that Tofu makes (aka Anderson makes for him) involves talking in your mouth with your mouth closed.  He calls this "skirtin'". He asks us to "skirt" sometimes--it's pretty funny when we're all skirtin' simultaneously.  No clue how he came up with the word. None at all.

* "Black Doors":  Black doors refers to any elevator, regardless of door color.  He knows the term elevator; he just chooses to call them black doors.  He alternates between terms at leisure.

This is his elevator-riding stance.  Pretending to ride an elevator at the store.

* "Trip House":  Hotel.  He named it after his first stay at a hotel this past week (also another blog post onto itself).  He went on a trip, it looked like a  house, that's what he put together.

* "Roozer":  Another word for razor.  He HATES getting his hair cut, so we borrowed a social story book from school about getting a hair cut. It talks about the razor going down the little dude's neck. Again, Anderson knows that it's called a razor, but one day he switched it to "roozer", and anytime we tried to correct him (because sometimes it's fun to mess with him...), he would insist that we call it a roozer.

* And finally, "Man Pictures" AKA "Man Buttons": We have absolutely NO idea why he came up with this name, but these are the buttons that you push on an elevator.  They started as "man buttons" (and yes, Marty and I had a good laugh at how inappropriate that sounds!), and morphed yesterday into "man pictures".  Actually, we had a pretty funny conversation last night; when Anderson first called them "man pictures", he was asking me to draw some "man pictures". When I realized what he meant, I said something like "Oh, you want me to draw man buttons. That's a better word"...and then I realized in fact it was not really a better word. Man buttons. As in "push the man buttons".  Say it out loud to yourself and see if you don't either a) laugh a little or b) feel a bit like a perv.

                                                     Pushing the man button/man pictures on our "elevator".

Those are just a few good examples of Andersonisms.  Sometimes, Marty and I sit back and crack up thinking about how if someone randomly came to our house and hung out for an extended time, it sounds like we're speaking a foreign language.  It is actually incredibly endearing. My little creative guy.  He's so much fun.


  1. I have hung out at your house for extended periods of time and I LOVE all the Andersonisms and Ameliaisms!!!! In fact I find myself saying some of them to others sometimes. :)

  2. You and your kiddos are awesomely funny. Keep telling these stories, love it!