Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's Like This....

Kristina Chew at Autism Vox shares several poems by author and autism mom, Barbara Crooker. One of her most recent poems in the book Line Dance, entitled Simile, reminds me of one of Reid's all time favorite board books, Quick as a Cricket. It is one of a scant hundred we are scheming to present to Little Guy Wood, Carla's baby boy arriving in December. The catch is, Reid still loves them so much he absconds with the new copies as fast as I can hide or wrap them. He is futiley trying to convince me to give his ripped, stained, and cherished original copies to the baby, who "can't read yet anyway." He's got a point. There are worse obsessions!

Anyway, Audrey Wood's classic was one we used to build an emotional vocabulary of adjectives when Reid was younger. He still fancies the metaphors and visual imagery that depict moods including, "shy as a snail," "large as a whale," and "tame as a poodle." Have you seen the PowerPoint image Temple Grandin uses to convey her childhood sensory experience with toilet paper? Scratchy as sandpaper. I couldn't find it online but here is a similar representation. Similes are quite effective. Barbara Crooker's son coined the phrase, "mad as a tea kettle" which is vividly descriptive despite his teacher's redlining it.

My son showed me his paper from remedial
English; he was supposed to fill in the blanks.
Cool as a __________.

Smooth as a __________. Neat as a _____.

He came up with: angry as a teakettle

and when I asked, “Why?” said,
“Because it was boiling mad.” Of course,
it was marked wrong, one more red mark
in his life’s long test.

When I called from Virginia to ask him

what he did last weekend,
he said, “We bought Italian salad dressing.”

Last fall we went to a Broadway
play; what he liked the most
were traffic lights and Don’t Walk signs.

Of, my little pork chop, my sweet potato,
my tender tot. You have made me pay attention
to the world’s smallest minutia. My pea-shaped heart,
red as a stop sign, fills with
the helium of tenderness, thinks it might burst.

from Line Dance (Word Press 2008) by Barbara Crooker

God's Word is full of similes. Spiritual concepts are the hardest ones for us to grasp whether we are autistic or neuro-typical or gifted. Scripture comes the closest to conveying the abstractions of God, His heaven, and His immense love for us since it is, in itself, God-breathed through the Holy Spirit exclusively for our limited, finite, and human understanding. The Lord has done His part by putting it into our language and our individual learning style with factual accounts, visuals, parables, timelines, and even poetry.

Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants. Deuteronomy 32:1-3

Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow. Psalm 144:3-5

For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. Psalm 90:3-5

A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.
Proverbs 25:10-12

A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day
Proverbs 27:14-16

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:11-13

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