The boys could not be more different in almost every characteristic of their autism. I read early on that when siblings had autism, they are often completely different. Wow...is it ever!
They have the diagnosis in common but how their diagnosis is portrayed is complete opposites.
I remember the first child I met after Trenton's diagnosis that had autism with the ability to talk. This child knew exactly how to talk, just like Andrew. The child was in my face asking me a hundred questions about everything that he could think of... that is exactly how Andrew is. I remember wondering what it was like to live with that boy because I was raising two boys who were unable to communicate at that time. Now, I know exactly what it is like.
Andrew talks a lot! The only time that I notice when he is very quiet is when he is uncomfortable or when his anxiety is rising.
Last week I was in Dollar General with Andrew and while we were checking out he noticed that someone had placed a book back in the wrong spot. He asked repeatedly why a book was sitting on top of the candy bars by the cashier. I answered him over and over. He started asking the cashier, "Why is this book here? It is not suppose to be here." The cashier answered his question but Andrew of course couldn't drop the subject and kept asking her over and over and asking other things over and over. The cashier literally stopped what she was doing, looked at me with the biggest eyes and said, "Wow. That's all I can say is wow."
That's just a small situation...so many other things happen daily with Andrew and his speech out in public. Andrew is all about talking to others and asking them questions that you probably shouldn't ask a stranger...
Andrew ask questions about everything and then his questions lead to more questions and then he starts talking about his questions and it never ends. He ask the same question at least three times and makes sure I answer it exactly the same way I answered it before. If I say something just slightly different then he calls me out on it and it makes him mad! For example, he asked me the other day how old I will be when he is 70. I answered 100. He asked me again, I said 100. He asked me the third time and I said old. Oh boy did he ever get mad because I said old and not 100.
He is still fixated on numbers and his conversations almost always revolved around numbers. I continue to have to answer daily how old I will be when he is 20,25,30,66,77,45....you name the number I almost guarantee he has asked me. Then he brings up someone else like Trenton or Nana and we have to go through the whole scenario about how old he will be when that person is a certain age. It never ends!!! NO LIE!
If he isn't talking about people's age, he is talking about something that he can always turn into tons of questions.
Andrew loves to know his schedule and it helps tremendously with his anxiety. When we are discussing his week and if I need to mention something that will happen on a certain day, I can't say...."On Thursday this week you have OT." If I do, he gets mad and says, "What number Moochies?" I then have to say, "On October 6 you have OT." He organizes and balances everything out in his mind through his numbers.
Most of the time, I have to count how many yogurts he has left after he takes one to eat....or whatever he feels in his mind that he wants to know the number of. It is going to be very interesting if his number fixation sticks or if it is something that is just going on right now. One way or the other, Andrew sure does make up for what Trenton is unable to do and that is talking!
Trenton, on the other hand, has had a little more difficulty lately on being able to produce the few words that he can. Even his teacher during church mentioned this today. His speech therapist brought this up lately too. He has a BIG stim right now and that is smacking his lips. I wondered if his new stim is playing a role with his inability to say the few words that he can. (Stim is basically a self soothing behavior.)
There is a big misunderstanding when it comes to autism. A large number of people think that if you have autism, you can't talk. That could not be any farther from the truth. One small part of autism is the inability to communicate or the inability to communicate appropriately. Trenton is unable to communicate. Andrew is able to communicate but at times he doesn't know how to communicate appropriately due to his inability to understand what is socially acceptable.