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.
What is your name?
Yeah, but what is it?
Jack. That’s a dumb question you know.
How old are you?
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.
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.