"Autism & Memoirs of an Old Maid"…C'hele's Story

October 24, 2007

Autism: Old Souls In The Face Of Youthful Autism

Filed under: Aspberger Syndrome, Autism, Special Needs — C'hele @ 08:10

From across a busy hallway that is filled with sounds of adolescent chatter, I observe a petite frame hunched over in a chair like a little old man. Intensely focusing upon the small round Tupperware dish in his lap, he hastily picks away at it like some starving little bird that happens upon some tasty morsels buried under deep snow during winter. Completely unaware of the activity and business of the environment around him, he is purposeful upon his task. After all, he only has five minutes left for lunch and he must remain on schedule in order to avoid completely ruining his whole day! Behind him, large window panes brightly outline his small frame allowing an unexpected sun ray to highlight the strawberry blonde hues in his hair. Tucked ever so carefully under his chair, sits his orange and black backpack. Beside it on the floor, is an orange binder and an orange pencil case stacked “just so.” His orange lunchbox sits neatly beside his binder and pencil case and they all match the un-tucked orange plaid shirt that he wears. “Orange is my most favourite colour you know,“ he once said to me.

Frantically he looks up at a clock on the wall across from him and with a frown on his face, he pushes back in place his small, round glasses blemished with greasy spots with his index finger. Suddenly, his cheeks become scarlet against the rest of his pale white skin and ever so slightly, he begins to rock back and forth in his chair. Anxiously looking towards the door where the staff room is, he slowly gets up from his chair. With his shuffling feet and hunched back, his elbows tucked up against his abdomen, he determinedly makes his way over to his personal educational assistant. I think to myself as I watch him walk, “I almost feel like I need to fetch him a walker.” Averting my eyes to allow him privacy, I hear his weak and creaky voice stammer to his aid:

Alison, I – I – I cannot go to class until I, until I, finish eating first. I became distracted by (? – I didn’t hear this part), and I simply, I simply just cannot continue onto my, to my, Keyboarding class until I finish my lunch and you, you, you just cannot make me go until I am ready. I’m going back to my table now so – so – so I can finish and so, and so, I won’t ruin my day and I will be able to focus better on my Keyboarding class.”

Smiling to myself as I walked away towards my own student, I could not help but think that I am convinced that despite the classic high functioning autistic traits that he displays, that he indeed, has an old soul in that little body of his.




  1. This is an amazingly accurate description of an autistic child. I don’t know the age but I could picture him.

    My ten year old nephew is autistic. Instead of the rocking side to side, he rocks forward and back. He never sits. He stands constantly. Never sits.

    He has no language. He grunts. Occasionally the grunts sound a lot like “I love you” or “thank you” but perhaps that is wishful thinking.

    I love this entry and will pass it on to my sister.

    Comment by Corina — October 24, 2007 @ 08:52

  2. Actually, Richie rocks side to side, not back and forth. It’s late.

    Comment by Corina — October 24, 2007 @ 08:53

  3. This child is better able to advocate for his needs and explain them than I’ve ever been able to. An old soul indeed.

    Thank you for this delicately-observed and very beautiful anecdote.

    Comment by davidrochester — October 25, 2007 @ 10:32

  4. Hi Guys! I apologize for the delay replying. This “little man” has the body of a thirteen year old but is actually fifteen. I adore observing him as I find him absolutely fascinating. He is a spritely and fiercely spunky individual! Everything he does, he does it from the heart. I find him simply amazing.

    Comment by cheles — October 27, 2007 @ 10:26

  5. Corina, thank you by the way!!!!!

    David? You are absolutely correct in your assumption. He is an amazing advocate for himself. He makes me laugh so much! It takes him “forever” to explain any situation as he reflects every single moment so the person he is speaking to, understands. Yep, we understand all right: most of the time we recieve more information than we care to know, lol. Hugs 🙂

    Comment by cheles — October 27, 2007 @ 10:30

  6. Have you read the book, I think it’s called The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night or something like that. It’s excellent. The boy in that book sounds like your young man.

    Comment by Corina — October 29, 2007 @ 08:20

  7. I loved this post, could almost imagine him sitting on a chair next to me…

    Comment by childwoman — October 29, 2007 @ 15:39

  8. This was really lovely. Sometimes I wish I had the courage to be so vocal about what i want and need.

    Comment by Julia Gulia — October 31, 2007 @ 04:17

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