Interview with an Autistic Child

One of the things I find most difficult to try and explain to people, is what it is like trying to hold a conversation with my son Jack. That’s where the inspiration for, interview with an autistic child came from. Nothing I could ever write, could capture Jack’s personality and his “autism” as this has. Me talking will be in bold, and inside Jack’s answers there will be comments from me, these will appear in brackets and italic, to be easily distinguished. I apologise if it gets a bit confusing, but that is kind of the point of this hah.

I explained to Jack what we were doing, and what it was for before we stared. He was very happy to do it, indicated by the huge grin on his face. Jack loves showing off, and as with most kids these days it seems. He wants to be famous online, YouTube, TikTok etc. So jumps at any chance to be part of this blog. So let’s get on with the interview.

Interview with an autistic child
Jack training to be a ninja

What is your name?

You know.

Yeah, but what is it?

Jack. That’s a dumb question you know.

How old are you?

You know.

I know, but the people reading don’t. So you need to tell them (-pause-)how old are you?

I told you, you dummy.

No you didn’t.

What? You know, come on.

Yes, but you need to answer the question for the readers.

(At this point Jack is giving me a funny look, so I whisper to him 12 and he nods his head and we move on.)

Who do you live with?

You know, dumbass. (You might have noticed there’s a trend to Jacks answers.)

I know. But you need to answer for the people reading, remember? Because they don’t know.

Guess who’s over you’re head?

(At this point Jack has put one of his favourite teddy’s on my head, and wants me to guess which one it is. If you aren’t aware of the snuggly’s you can read about them by clicking here. A little panda has been added to the gang, so we went through this 4 times before I repeated the question.)

You know dummy. You say them I will nod.

Mummy (Jack nods), Daddy (Jack nods), Lily (Jack nods), anyone else? Biscuit. (Result! An independent answer!! Biscuit is our pet guinea pig.) And you know who else? Who? The Snuggly’s (You can never forget the Snuggly’s.)

Do you like going to school?

Yes. (That’s all Jack had to say about that.)

Do you have friends at school?

(Jack nods his head.)

What are their names?

(We have to wait for a minute, as Jack wants me to watch something that happens in PokeMon, that is on the TV.)
Jimmy, Alfie, Bonnie, Jack, Dawid, Jacob.

What are your favourite things?

(Jack points at the TV for Pokemon.) Minecraft, SCP’s don’t forget about that.

Anything else?

That’s all I can think of.

What about dogs?

Yes. (Jack nods his head and makes dog noises).

What do you want to do when you grow up?

I don’t know. I’m already a Pokemon trainer, I want to become a Pokemon master.

Thoughts on the interview

That is the interview with an autistic child brought to you by myself and Jack. Some of the key things, that I believe it shows far better than I could ever try and explain are. Just a simple question, isn’t so simple. If Jack knows you already know the answer, he just doesn’t see why he needs to tell you.

Staying focused is a difficulty, the TV was a distraction, but it would have been worse without it. The TV in the background actually helps Jack to focus. Without it, he would have been up and out of his seat within a minute.

Jack’s understanding is limited, and he needs a lot of prompting to help him give answers. He wants you to answer for him, why exactly i’m not sure. Perhaps it’s to do with anxiety. But as he proved a couple of times, he can give answers independently sometimes.

One of the big things comes in the last question, and is something I will do in more detail in a future post. Jack can’t differentiate between reality and fiction, to him Pokemon are real. He is a Pokémon trainer, and he wants to travel the world catching Pokémon.

I hope this gave a little insight into how Jack works, and also how we work with him. 7 fairly simple questions that took a lot more effort to get through than what would be perceived as “normal”. I think that sums up well, what life is like for autistic people and those that care for them. Thank you for reading.

Dad Does Autism

My name is Adam. I live with my partner Natalie, and our 2 children Jack and Lily. Both children are autistic, it is now my mission to show what life around autism is like. Spread the awareness and gain the acceptance that autistic people deserve.

42 thoughts on “Interview with an Autistic Child

  • July 8, 2020 at 2:44 pm
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    Wow…… this is a good practice. Makes me understand autism kids better. Thank you for sharing Adam. I always enjoy reading your blog. So keep on the good work.

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    • July 8, 2020 at 9:20 pm
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      What a fantastic experiment to trial out Adam and it seemed it worked well, I can imagine there must be challenges, but you’re doing great, keep up the achievable work. 😁 get a thornbridge beer down you 😂

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      • July 8, 2020 at 9:27 pm
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        Cheers mate, it went better than I could have expected, so I’m pretty pleased. Celebrated long with a beer sounds just the ticket 😃

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        • July 9, 2020 at 8:58 am
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          A great insight matey. It can’t be easy. I like how he aspires to be a pokemon master, even if they are fiction at least he aspires to achieve something 😊. Great Post matey.

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          • July 9, 2020 at 9:03 am
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            Cheers mate, yeah it’s definitely good that he’s aspiring to be something 😊

  • July 8, 2020 at 9:46 pm
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    I loved getting a personal look at how your family works with Jack and how his mind works when it comes to answering questions. I get where he comes from with not answering questions he knows you know the answer to; not quite a perfect example but sometimes I get tired of repeating the same stuff to new people, especially at a party. 🙂

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    • July 8, 2020 at 10:04 pm
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      Thank you, that was one of the things I was hoping to show, and he didn’t disappoint 😂

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  • July 9, 2020 at 8:24 am
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    This was so interesting, it’s such a great idea to hear from Jack in his own words.

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    • July 9, 2020 at 12:58 pm
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      Thank you, we are both really pleased that you liked it 😊

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  • July 9, 2020 at 12:04 pm
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    This is a great idea, your interview with Jack will hopefully help people understand what it is like talking to kids with autism.

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    • July 9, 2020 at 12:56 pm
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      Thank you, hopefully it does 😊

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  • July 9, 2020 at 12:11 pm
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    Such an interesting idea, you are so right, nothing can explain an autistic person better than for them to speak for themself.

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    • July 9, 2020 at 12:57 pm
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      That’s exactly it, anytime that either Jack and Lily can speak for themselves, that’s the best way to do it.

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  • July 9, 2020 at 12:25 pm
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    Sounds like you had an interesting time interviewing Jack, was it slightly harder to do the interview because of the awkwardness of his dad doing the interview? Would he act differently it it was his teacher or a less familiar adult interviewing him?

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    • July 9, 2020 at 12:56 pm
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      I think he’d be more awkward, but in a different kind of way. He has a psychologist at school, who he already knew from respite care previously. It took months for him to get Jack to answer questions. He’d just ignore the questions and talk about what he wanted to (eg Pokemon) which is standard for Jack. He often talks at you, rather then to you.

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  • July 9, 2020 at 1:04 pm
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    Great idea to interview him – great way to interact on a different level! I loved reading your post!

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    • July 9, 2020 at 1:06 pm
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      Thank you, yes I’m patting myself on the back 😂 it’s one of my better ideas.

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  • July 9, 2020 at 1:08 pm
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    What a fantastic idea! This was so interesting and really gives an insight in to how what people may perceive as a ‘normal’ conversations and questions, actually are when you’re speaking to someone with autism. This gives us a great insight into how things are for Jack and for yourself when having such conversations.
    I loved this post and would love to read more interviews you do with Jack.

    How would it work if Jack was given the questions in writing? Would it make a difference – I wondered if he may give more direct answers because he wasn’t associating the answers with you as he knows you already know the answers?

    Hope you don’t mind my questions – I’m intrigued. I think it’s so important we all learn about things like this so that we can try to incorporate better practices in to our own lives so that when we are in contact with people with Autism, we can try to help.
    I also used to be a teacher and I always find that I’m always learning even after having lots of training. Obviously, each person is always different as well, so it’s interesting to find how things are for others.

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    • July 9, 2020 at 1:17 pm
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      That’s a very good question. Which I don’t know the answer too. I will have to give it a try to find out. Visual aids have always been a big part of his communication, so I think it may well help. It would be whether me giving the questions still triggers the same response. I will try it out later on. Thank you for the idea 😊

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      • July 10, 2020 at 5:07 pm
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        No problem. I’d love to hear how it goes 🙂

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  • July 9, 2020 at 3:40 pm
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    This interview shows so much more than any explanation ever could. Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

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    • July 9, 2020 at 7:31 pm
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      Thank you, it certainly does 😊

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  • July 9, 2020 at 4:49 pm
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    This is a fantastic insight into Jack’s mind and the mind of an autistic child. Thank you and Jack for sharing!

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    • July 9, 2020 at 7:32 pm
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      Thank you, this definitely worked as well as I could have ever expected 😊

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  • July 9, 2020 at 5:35 pm
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    This was great Adam! Such a fascinating look into Jack’s mind. One of the children I work with absolutely love Pokemon too, unfortunately it’s changed so much since I was a kid that half the time I’ve got no clue what he’s talking about I have to wing my way through the conversation with limited knowledge of various battles and evolution’s haha. Thanks to you and Jack for sharing this!

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    • July 9, 2020 at 7:34 pm
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      Thank you, haha yes I’ve seen most of the new episodes now, and I can’t keep up, there’s over 900 Pokemon, how are supposed to remember that many 😂

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  • July 9, 2020 at 6:52 pm
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    I love this. And I think the pokemon thing shows a lot of self confidence, saying he wants to work to become a master. That’s fantastic! Sounds like a great kid.

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    • July 9, 2020 at 7:36 pm
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      Thank you, it’s something I’ve not really thought about, but yeah, anything he sets his mind to wanting to do. He is unwaveringly certain he will be the best in the world at it when he practises enough. He doesn’t lack confidence.

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  • July 9, 2020 at 7:38 pm
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    Such a great insight. Much better than some Herbert talking nonsense in a textbook. Great work dad and jack

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    • July 9, 2020 at 7:39 pm
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      Thank you, we really appreciate that comment. Also, I love the use of Herbert as an insult 🤣

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      • July 9, 2020 at 7:46 pm
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        You’re welcome it’s a great insult 😂

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  • July 10, 2020 at 10:49 am
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    Actually, I think Jack’s answers show how intelligent he is. He might not respond in what we regard as a conventional way, but from his POV, if you know the answers, why does he need to tell you again? And with regard to Pokemon, the Pokemon GO game kind of did bring fantasy into reality so kudos to Jack for wanting to catch them all. That said, I can’t imagine how exhausting it must be for you and Natalie on a daily basis. But I loved this interview, I hope you and Jack do one again, thank you! Lisa

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    • July 10, 2020 at 7:39 pm
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      Thank you, Pokemon go definitely blurs the line. Jack catches so many people out because he’s not so clever academically, but he has a razor sharp mind. He often runs rings around teachers and care workers and they don’t even realise.
      I’d definitely like to do another one at some point.

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  • July 11, 2020 at 12:00 am
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    I love the idea of this, and was very curious about the answers. My autistic step brother went through a very long period where I don’t know (when he really did know) or you know that was the answer to 95% of questions so this was somewhat familiar. I love that he answered with the guinea pig on his own though!

    Sophie

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    • July 11, 2020 at 1:05 am
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      Thank you, yeah it can be difficult to work out. The Guinea Pig answer was so good 😀

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  • July 11, 2020 at 12:27 pm
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    I smiled as I read this as I have an autistic brother who is in his late twenties – and this is very much what a conversation with him is like even now. (Yes, the teddies and the Pokemon included.)

    He’s still training to be a Pokemon master, in his Pokemon t-shirts, but he’s also an incredible independent young-ish man. It’s not always been easy for him, or for us as his family, but he’s living his best life – he lives in a flat with regular support from SW, goes to college full-time and does volunteer work with a local autism group. I just wanted to highlight that because I know my mum worried a lot about what his future would look like but he’s made a life for himself that fits him rather than trying to fit into a one size, fits all model. 🙂

    Jack sounds like a great kid and I’m sure he’ll reach Pokemon master status in no time at all!

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    • July 11, 2020 at 10:24 pm
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      Thanks for sharing that. The future certainly is the biggest worry, but it’s one step at a time 😊

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  • July 16, 2020 at 3:42 am
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    Awesome post, Adam! And an awesome idea to interview Jack. I know a few autistic people and I’m heartbroken at the way they’re treated! Please keep spreading awareness and advocating for Jack and all those on the spectrum!

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    • July 16, 2020 at 7:55 am
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      Thank you, I think it’s important for the autistic person to speak for themselves where it is possible. So I was really happy with this post, and how to do more like it.

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      • July 16, 2020 at 2:25 pm
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        You’re very welcome, Adam. And you’re so right. The more they can speak for themselves, the easier life will be later. Bless you!

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