The Life Autistic: First Words


I’m the oldest and oddest of five. But I think it took having babies #2 and #3 for my folks to realize:

“Yeah, something is up with Hunter.” 

I was an 80’s boy, pre-Internet, so it’s not as if parents were spoiled and ruined with a surfeit of information and misinformation back then.

How else would you have known if your kid was different

“Dad,” asked my youngest sib, Signy. “What was my first word?”

“Probably ma-ma,” he replied.

“What about Guðrún’s?” Older of my younger sisters. #4

“Probably ma-ma too.”

“What about Geiger’s?” Youngest brother. #3

“I’m pretty sure it was also ma-ma.

“What about Walter’s?” Younger brother. #2

“Sig, I don’t remember, but I think it was ma-ma as well.”

 “What about Hunter’s?”

Before Dad could respond, Guðrún answers with a bellow from the other room:

“THIS . . . IS . . . JEOPARDY!”

I’m reasonably sure those weren’t my first words. Maybe in my first twenty, perhaps.

As for my real first words, it depends on who you ask. My siblings don’t recall; they weren’t born. My parents haven’t disclosed or have expunged them from  the record. And my grandmother’s answer is either “Visa” or “Isuzu.”

Yes, you’re reading that right:

My first word was either ‘Visa’ or ‘Isuzu’ – so I’ve been told.

So how early can you really tell if your child is somewhere on the fabulous autism spectrum?

I don’t have the answer here, but if baby’s first words are in between “major credit card” and “Japanese automaker,” then I might urge some extra care.

For what it’s worth, I do use a Visa, but I’ve never driven an Isuzu.

And my own daughter’s first word? Dada. 


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