There he stood on his tiny chair in the middle of his preschool cafeteria making his royal stance adamantly clear. My eyes surveyed the room. His poor teacher was completely unsure about what to do. The other children were entranced by his command of the room. “The Baby” otherwise know as “The King” was perched on his tiny little chair with his index finger pointing straight up in the air shouting at the top of his little lungs “Never I say, never!”
“The King” is not your average 4 year-old boy. He falls into several categories within the Autistic spectrum. Although his intellect borders on brilliant, his speech is severely delayed. The biggest problem with “The King” is that his mind is bursting with thoughts that his speech simply cannot relay. So he has learned to make his royal commands, and desires intensely clear in other ways. This king will be heard whether he is able to express his wishes with words or not.
He is intensely easy on the eyes. His large beautiful blue eyes draw you in then while you’re completely captivated he throws you a smile that lets you know you are probably going to give him whatever he wants. Adults, and children alike are often drawn into his kingdom with not so much as even a single word. He commands your attention while systematically getting you to relent to his every wish.
On the flip side of his charismatic charms there is a tyrant who loses his shit when his powers of persuasion are not being understood, or worse yet denied. Like all great rulers he knows that when his charms are not doing the trick you have to rule with an iron fist. He has a new teacher who is quite young, and clearly has not had the experience of dealing with a 2 -1/2 foot tall ruler. I have dealt with this mighty king since he was a year old. Over this period of time I’ve been extremely lucky to have found myself very much in “The King’s” favor.
I have the ability to understand him in a way that does not require so much energy output on his part, so he tolerates me much more easily than the rest of his subjects. I don’t deal with him in a verbal way because I know that when he realizes he is not able to converse back in the same way he becomes frustrated. I can see from the look on his face that he feels defeated by his inability to speak. Plus it’s good for him to see that I am as bilingual at getting what I want in the nonverbal sense as he is. He likes this about me. He knows I share the same admiration for him in this way.
However much to “The Kings” dismay I am equally as tenacious about fulfilling my job requirements as his personal assitant. So as he stood perched on his tiny chair I walked over to him, and looked down towards the ground signaling him that it was time to step down. He looks me straight in the eyes to let me know he is not ready to comply. So I look him back in the eye being ever so cautious not to be mesmerized by his charms, and I raise both of my eyebrows while smiling at him.
He is assured by my smile that I am not issuing a command so he climbs down off of the chair, and starts to walk away towards the door. I remain by the chair until he realizes I am not following him towards the door. He looks at me with slight disgust, then I smile again and stare down at the chair that has not been pushed back into the table, and the snack (of apples & raisins) that remained uncleared. He gives me a pronounced hesitation just to make sure I know he is making a choice, not following a command. Then he walks over pushes in his chair, and clears his uneaten snack from the table.
I smile at him again. He looks at me in a way that let’s me know he is only conceding to my wishes only because he wants to, but he knows that I will stand there like an immovable mountain until he relents. Then he looks at me again with his “Happy now look?,” and I beam back at him so he knows that I am. I hand him his royal nap blanket, his box of apple juice, and his bag of pretzels. As we walk down the hallway I look at him with my “What happened in there face?” He smiles at me then in four tiny words says ” I don’t like raisins.” 😉