Children on the spectrum are brilliant imitators of the people around them. It’s a technique that helps them fill in the blind spots caused by Autism. It’s also one of the best reasons for mainstreaming with their NT peers.
Aspie Caveman has always had a very close relationship with his grandfather. When Tommy was very young and unable to cope with the sensory assault from his environment, his grandfather acted as some sort of constant to help reduce and recover from the meltdowns. As he matured and developed coping skills, Tommy and his grandfather became the very best of friends. After his grandfather’s CABG surgery, it became glaringly obvious that the child with Aspergers understood his grandfather as well as his grandfather understood him.
I’m not sure how long the transition has been taking place, but Aspie Caveman has now taken on the affect of his grandfather. They have the same mannerisms, expressions and physical movements. They use language the same. I may be able to replicate my father’s penmanship, but Tommy reflects the man who he is named after in every other way. My father would never spend half an hour describing the minutia of a game, but when Tommy does it, I see and hear my father. It always makes me smile.
I know with my head that the mimicry is a coping skill. In my heart, I see it as a gift.