MY FOSTER brother James visited every second weekend. I dreaded these occasions. As an autistic he required attendance most of the time.
James was exhausting, and draining. So was his brother, who lived in the shed across the paddock with my foster mother’s daughter. Partly because they couldn’t say many words.
I stayed out of the way when I could, hiding in my room all day playing with toys. When he would come into the room I’d try to kick him out. He treated that as a bit of a joke though because he didn’t understand the concept of personal space.
Personal space is not something you ever understand when as a teenager you have your nappy changed.
My foster mother Hazel would proudly talk about his progress in his first year of high school, at special school. He would learn to write a cheque and safely cross the road. Basically anything to encourage independence.
Once Hazel said that maybe James could learn to read and talk properly with encouragement. So I decided to teach him to say the words of Pokemon. We’d sit in my room and I’ll put out the Pokemon cards and teach him to read the names.
“Ball-bah-saw!” I’d say about ten times. If he could say the name properly he could keep the card. With difficulty he managed to earn the Bulbasaur, and he took it with little interest. The card’s value meant little to him. It was paper to him, only interesting because I valued it.
“Can you say Char-man-dah?”