I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.
The reversal of pronouns in autism has always been an interesting issue to me. It is nearly impossible to teach someone how to say, “I” when they mean themselves, rather than saying, “you.” For a while we were told by our ABA-ist teachers that we should prompt the correct sentence by saying, “Say, ‘I’” only to find that Nat then required a say-ectomy, as Ned called it; many sentences were needlessly starting with “Say.” Then we were told to drop “say” and just model “I.” But Nat would say “I” and then go back to saying “you” when he meant “I.” I is changeable (as opposed to I am changeable) in value and meaning, depending on who the speaker is.
Nat either did not understand the concept that I = myself and each person uses it accordingly, or he was not able to call up the correct word at the correct time. I believe it is the latter. Nat knows quite well who he is and who I am.
But in a more philosophical/psychological sense I have been wondering about autistics’ sense of self vs. NT’s. Nat has a different view of my responsibility and power of the universe than my other two children. Nat’s worldview appears to be “younger,” to put it in NT language. Or to map it developmentally, he may not have entirely separated himself from me, or me from the universe. The word autism itself implies a self-centered worldview, but sometimes that doesn’t seem quite right. It is more of a differently-connected worldview, whereby Nat might be heavily connected to me, and sees me as intricately connected to the universe? Ben and Max have figured out that I am fallible, though it still displeases them, and that I don’t control things like the streetlights or the weather.
Or it could be that Nat does understand that I don’t control those phenomena, but that he merely expresses his frustration with weather, etc., by putting it on me, venting to me, because I am the first person he ever knew. I.e., I am safe and he knows it. (“Mommy will fix the streetlight.” “It will be sunny out.”)
Or perhaps he is saying, “It will be sunny out” because he is checking with me(?)
I was thinking about all of this because my wild pony boy cantered out of the woods and nickered into my hand this morning. What happened was I came down from the shower and he came up to me and said, “Want to smell me, yes.” And before I could parse the sentence, he leaned in and sniffed my hair, melting my heart and getting me all sugary inside.