We loooove movies.

David and I watch movies together daily. Toy Story, Frozen, Zootopia, Home, Incredibles…you name it, we’ve most likely seen it. (Just make sure it’s Disney or Dreamworks.) 🙂

If you’re a member of an autism family, or close to one, you’ve most likely heard of the term “scripting”. If not, The Autism Society of Baltimore-Chesapeake describes it as “the repetition of words, phrases, intonation, or sounds of the speech of others; sometimes taken from movies, but also sometimes taken from other sources, such as favorite books or something someone else has said.” Many children and adults on the autism spectrum do this daily.

Sometimes I feel like the only communication between Bub and I is scripting from movies that both of us have watched together.

It hurts knowing that I may never have a day-to-day conversation with David that would be (to you and I) as simple as a funny story from school that day. It may happen, and I am so excited for that day, and cannot wait for it to happen. But for now, we have movie quotes and therapy scripts, and that is perfectly ok with me. A daily conversation between bub and I usually takes place after we’re both done with school, and he’s done with his therapies, and usually goes like this…

Me: Hi David! wave a little bit

David: Hi Sissy!

Me: How are you?

David: I’m good, thank you! Walks away with his tablet

I’ll usually stand there for a sec, secretly hoping that he’ll say something more, knowing that he most likely won’t – and that is ok.

Some time during the night, David will ask to watch a movie. Lately it’s been Toy Story, but through these 7 years it has been a huge array of movies and TV Shows, and we both have them all memorized. So I’ll put the movie on, and we’ll watch, he’ll script, and I’ll follow along. In those moments, it seems pointless, just two kids having some fun reciting movie quotes, but on the inside it’s so much more. I didn’t know it, but he really takes those to heart, and I didn’t even realize that I did too. He has learned to use those scripts in specific situations; for example…

I’m doing the dishes while David is in the living room, but both Mom and Dad are out grocery shopping. A Tupperware container falls out of the ever messy Tupperware cabinet (that I still have yet to clean even though I tell myself I’m going to do it every day), and me being the hot-headed temperamental Heffner I am (thanks Dad), lets out a not-so-subtle huff and rolls my eyes. David then hears me from the living room, looks up at me, smiles and starts this script out of nowhere…

David: BAM, SMASH!

Me, partially bewildered: BITS OF EMOTION FLYING EVERYWHERE!



David: You see what I’m saying?

For those who are confused, this is a scene from one of our favorite Disney movies, Chicken Little. Sometimes he’ll bring it up and it’s completely random, but this time it was completely on purpose…all up to the giddy smile that was on his face the whole time we were scripting it.

At the moment, I had absolutely no idea why he pulled that one up right then, but then I realized that he was pulling that script because he saw that I was frustrated, and wanted to let me know that he knew what I was feeling. Every time I think of that, my heart ‘bout explodes with joy.

To the people on the outside – and even sometimes my parents – those scripts between us are completely meaningless and confusing, a source of laughter but not much more. But to Bub and I, it’s our language. It’s how we talk and understand one another.

So to all the autism siblings, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles…etc. out there reading this, those endless scripts you hear during the day aren’t meaningless and empty. Look into them, learn them, and I’m 100% sure that there will be so much more understanding and communication between you and your child/relative – and in my opinion, that’s one of the best feelings you could ever experience.

• Sissy (Allayna)

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