When it comes to singing, Ryan may try to hang with Aretha, "just a little bit", but, when it comes to R-E-S-P-E-C-T, especially respect for his little sister Emma, Ryan's got a long way to go before he can claim he is Taking Care of Business. What she wants, I know he's got it. What she needs, I know he's got it, but, when it comes to her askin' for it, Ryan continues to do her wrong.
As Emma walked away, I was left alone in her room staring at that lovingly wrapped present feeling another unexpected autism ripple which, if not addressed soon, could most certainly turn into a tsunami. So, I grabbed my life vest, turned on Aretha and steadied myself for this next wave.
Don't get me wrong, Ryan has good manners, he would never dream of failing to respect a teacher or someone in authority, however, sometimes he struggles to respect those who are different from him. Especially his derpy little sister.
I decided to tackle this R-E-S-P-E-C-T or should I say D-I-S-R-E-S-P-E-C-T, issue just like Aretha, set to a little music while trying to Take Care of Business. It was just the two of us in the car, listening to some tunes on the way home from Ryan's haircut. Ryan was happily humming along and seemed in good space, so I thought it was time for a little chat about respect. I asked Ryan why he is so mean to his sister, why he talks to her in such a rude voice, why he immediately gets up and moves somewhere else when she sits next to him and why he can't seem to give her the respect that he does others, and he very matter-of-factly stated, "because she is so derpy".
There are times along this autism journey where I have spent hours agonizing over some issue. I research it to death, analyze it, discuss it with every person who isn't tired of hearing me talk about it, and other times, I just go with my gut. My gut has lead me astray from time to time, but, other times, my gut has been spot on. (Ryan would tell me that my "gut" has nothing to do with thinking and that I am a totally derpy for even suggesting such a thing).
I went with my gut, but, I tried to tread lightly. "You know Ryan, there are times when you mimic characters from television shows, video games, and YouTube accounts and you make funny faces when you think about those characters, faces and sounds that Emma could say is embarrassing, but, rather than be embarrassed by your behavior, Emma smiles, accepts, loves and respects you just like you are (this is when the road became blurry through my tear streaked sunglasses)." I told Ryan he may "not have time" for Emma's silly behavior, behavior that he sees as embarrassing, derpy, and different from his own, but, he still has to be kind to her, and treat her with
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, otherwise, Mom is gonna start TCB, and when that Taking Care of Business results in loss of electronic devices, he is not going to be happy.
As the silence continued, I worried if I had gone too far. If my gut had lead me astray again. Did I hurt him by using examples of his very autismy-like behavior, or was I successful because that was a very clear, and concrete example? The kind of example Ryan needs to process information. I guess time will tell, but, I can say, over the past few days, Ryan has been a bit kinder, seemingly showing some respect (just a little bit), when it comes to his little sister.
The irony of all this R-E-S-P-E-C-T is not lost on me. This mother who blogs, advocates, educates and screams from the rooftops, "different, not less" missed teaching the one person who needs more coaching, more understanding, and more patience for those he perceives as different from him, those who do not think, act and behave the way he does. Guess that makes me the derpy one.
What she wants, I know he's got it, what she needs, I know he's got it, and if he can give her a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T (just a little bit), by trying to find out what it means to her, I don't think he will ever walk in and find her gone...even when she acts a little derpy.