Every so often, professionals who come to see Ellen, talk about ‘seeking her views’. This is of course a very laudable aim, but these knowledge-seekers are often repelled with a get out! from Ellen or if they’re really lucky, she’ll tell them she’s good at eating chips. They usually back away looking rather crestfallen at having, as always, to rely on parental views alone.
I understand their frustration, but I’ve spent 19 years trying to find out what Ellen’s thinking and feeling so their five minutes of failure gives them just that little insight into what it’s like trying to second-guess someone day in day out.
Another of these questionnaires plopped onto the mat last week and today, I sat down with Ellen in an attempt to fill it in.
Mog decided that this was the exact moment to demand attention, and his determination to sit on the questionnaire, although rather unwanted by me, did get Ellen in an excellent mood for the boring task ahead.Things I’m good at was the first question. Hiding Ellen wrote, no doubt inspired by the fact we had just come back from the pet food shop where she had hidden amongst the fishing rods in the tackle and bait shop downstairs whilst I was paying for my dog food. She thought it was hilarious. Not so the two, grossly overweight fishermen who were sat in the cellar trying to ignore the fact that Ellen was dancing in the corner.
Things I like, things I don’t like and new things I’d like to try. In an attempt to get a more relevant answer, I added ‘at college’ to the end of this question. I like playing on the swing and going to Morrisons. I don’t like the fire alarm. I’d like to try cooking. (Ellen actually does cooking at college and has done for three years but heigh ho – they’ll like that I’m sure).
Things I admire about me. This is a tricky one. Admire isn’t a word that Ellen really understands. What do you like about yourself? I asked her. There was a long pause. In the end she wrote. Funny. Lovely. No room for modesty in the autistic brain obviously.
My aspirations and goals for the future. Again, how many special needs people understand the word aspirations?! However, once translated by me, Ellen wrote: I’d like to work in McDonalds. The headline flashed before my eyes ‘McDonalds announces profits warning as teenage girl eats all the chips.’
We carried on slowly through the questionanire, but I don’t think I really felt I had an insight into Ellen’s mind until we came to the last box.
How I need to be supported to be heard and understood. Without any prompting from me Ellen wrote: I need help how to hear me.
Yup, that sums it up nicely.