Tuesday, May 06, 2008


My son, Rojo, age 11 years, 10 months, is technically not "on the spectrum." We who live in the fun world of special needs use this term to mean, Autism Spectrum Disorder.

While he shares 99% of the traits necessary to identify one as "on the spectrum," he doesn't have the primary one. He is not self-involved. He does not have the auto part of autism. Quite the opposite, actually. He is more keenly attuned to the moods, sensitivities, reactions, responses, and subtleties of others, than anyone I've ever had the joy to meet.

So, this makes my boy an anomaly among anomalies.

Wouldn't have it any other way.

Most kids on the spectrum do what we like to call "perseverating," which, according to the on-line Free Dictionary, is defined as: Verb 1. perseverate - psychology: repeat a response after the cessation of the original stimulus; "The subjects in this study perseverated" ingeminate, iterate, reiterate, repeat, restate, retell - to say, state, or perform again; "She kept reiterating her request."

This is all a nice way of saying they can tend to get stuck on something, and NOT LET GO. Sometimes this something stays stuck for hours, days, weeks, months, YEARS!!!!!

Over the years Rojo has perseverated on:

* Blue 2's. In Oregon the license plates have two stickers, one for the month and one for the year which indicates the expiration. February, "2" is blue. I would be understating things to say our lives revolved around blue 2's for over a year.

* Dairy Queen vanilla ice cream in a bowl with a red spoon - we went to Dairy Queen every single day for nearly 2 years.

* Maple bars at 4:00 PM from Safeway - This one was relatively short, only had to do it 5 days a week for about six months.

* Safeway, in general (this has been since age 2, and continues. To. This. Day.)

* Certain articles of clothing (puppy dog costume, dancing bear t-shirt, and now, basketball jerseys).

* Knock-knock jokes, which fly right over his head, but make him laugh like a hyena, none-the-less.

* For the last couple of years it's been NBA, NFL, and college basketball and football. Rojo can tell you ELD (every little detail) about ELT (every little team.) And I do mean EVERY detail. Colors? Mascot? Division? Conference? Players? Numbers? Drafts? He is a veritable font of information. He cannot be stumped.

I just thank the good Lord it's relatively age and gender appropriate, because it gives him something to talk about with his friends.

Lately he's turned his love of sports and knock-knock jokes, as well as his love of working me to death at bedtime, and made a fun new combination! It goes a little something like this:

Rojo: "Knock-knock."

Me: "Who's there?"

Rojo: "Penn State."

Me: "Penn State who?"

Rojo: "Nittany Lions!"

Rojo: "Knock-knock."

Me: "Who's there?"

Rojo: "University of Delaware."

Me: "University of Delaware who?"

Rojo: "Fightin' Blue Hens!"

OK. Do I even need to say it? WTF is naming these teams???? Nittany Lions??? Fightin' Blue Hens?

Still, it beats the hell out of blue twos.


holly said...

Some useless information for you: Penn State is in the shadow of Mt. Nittany - hence Nittany Lions.

I don't know what the hell a Blue Fighten Hen is.

Amber said...

That IS handy that it is so age and gender "correct", huh? And really, being a dude, it will ALWAYS be. he could grow up and be one of those hosts on Sports talk radio. ;)

I think you would have been interested in the conference and training I went to last month with my friend, Melissa. I never did get around to blogging about it, and i should.


Kim said...

Knock Knock

Who's there?


Eye who?


Terry Whitaker said...

I feel so much a "part"--knowing that while my visiting time is not nearly what I would like, I have experienced blue 2s, maple bars, the NBA + NCAAs, jerseys, and Safeway--and have really only missed DQ with spoon!

Wouldn't have it any other way.

Anonymous said...

Rojo is the most amazing human most of us have ever met.

Jerri said...

Change is good.

Michelle O'Neil said...

If only we could pick what they perseverate on. I keep trying to channel it into cleaning my house.

No such luck.

Drama Mama said...

Dude, the hardest part of the whole spectrum thing for me is the "auto" part of autism. It's Miss M's last stand. We don't really stim, or perseverate, or do have any sort of sensory stuff anymore...she just has a hard time making friends.

RoJo sounds like a gas.

Mmmmm. Maple bars at 4pm.