My oldest daughter is 14 years-old and has autism. And I like to tease her.
Don’t worry, I don’t tease her about having autism. I’m not that much of a jerk.
Abby doesn’t like it when I sing. That of course is normal and has nothing to do with autism. That is just common sense.
But what Abby really doesn’t want me to do is to sing songs from Veggie Tales. She loves Veggie Tales and she loves the songs. But the songs belong on the TV and not coming out of Dad’s mouth.
Knowing this, I will start to sing some silly song from Veggie Tales and Abby will run over to me, place her hands on my mouth and tell me, “No singing!”
Once I get her going, I will get her attention and just make the facial expressions as if I’m about to sing to get a reaction out of her.
Is this mean? Perhaps, but when we do this and I start with those facial expressions, I see her grin because she knows exactly what I’m doing.
But why do I tease Abby? Isn’t having autism enough without being teased?
The truth is that I tease my other children all the time. I tell my other daughters that all they are getting for Christmas is knitted underwear with a Donald Trump’s face on it. That gets a reaction.
The only child I don’t tease is Logan (who also has autism). The reason is that he is so easy going, I haven’t found something that gets him going. But I’m looking.
When I tease Abby, I do it out of the same affection that I tease my other children. If I thought it was making her sad, I wouldn’t do it. But I can read her facial expressions and we are both having fun with it.
Teasing is a way to bring a sense of normalcy to our relationship. When I see that she knows what I’m doing, there is real communication going between us.
And that’s why I tease my daughter.