One of the hallmarks of autism is rigid thinking - getting into patterns that are very hard to break. Seemingly anything can become habitual, at any time. Around here the patterns often stem from pairings - things that Ryan has decided go together that can never be apart or paired with anything else. Perhaps he has a future as a sommelier. Other times, the patterns are predetermined reactions - the absolute opposite of spontaneity. It's like full-body scripting.
Here are some of the newer patterns in this house:
- For maybe the last week, every time Ryan takes his first sip of a cup of milk, he shouts, exactly the same way every time, "It's a milk mustache! Get me a towel!" It doesn't matter if you offer him a straw - the first sip always results in this routine. As a result, he's drinking a lot less milk these days
- Similarly, whenever he eats chocolate, he declares, in exactly the same way every time, "I'm dirty! Get me a towel!" Chocolate consumption is not affected.
- Bananas are one of his top three favorite foods; "nana" was his first word for "food." Strangely, he still has trouble pronouncing this word - he says "bwana." Anyway, whenever he notices there's a banana lying around, before asking for it, he will declare, "Maybe bwana will help," as if he'll been mulling some deeply troubling global potassium shortage.
- In the bathtub, he insists on singing "Curve of the World" from "It's a Big Big World." He has not seen this show in about a year, it has nothing to do with water, and he doesn't sing it in any other context.
- He's started making this weird throaty vocal sound to punctuate... something, perhaps the end of an unspoken thought. It sounds like "nta." It's totally annoying to me; Stu says he barely notices it. Oh, how I wish for his level of man-focus.
- When eating dry Kix, if he drops a piece (a Kick?) he will pick it up, but instead of just eating it, he will place it back in his bowl, then pick up that exact same piece again and eat it.
These habits last a long time, we push back against them and try to mix things up, then suddenly they dissolve and are replaced with new patterns. Repeat, repeat.