My son’s autistic language

by Macarena Marey on April 5, 2023

My son’s language is made of a bundle of sounds that do not exist in the Spanish that we speak around the Río de la Plata. He repeats syllables he himself invented, he alternates them with onomatopoeias, guttural sounds, and high-pitched shouts. It is an expressive, singing language. I wrote this on Twitter at 6:30 in the morning on a Thursday because Galileo woke me up at 5:30. He does this, madruga (there is no word for “madrugar”, “waking up early in the morning” in English, I want to know why). As I look after him, I open a Word document in my computer. I write a little while I hear “aiuuuh shíii shíiii prrrrrr boio boio seeehhh” and then some whispers, all this accompanied with his rhythmic stimming of patting himself on the chest or drumming on the walls and tables around the house.
My life with Gali goes by like this, between scenes like this one and the passionate kisses and hugs he gives me. This morning everything else is quiet. He brings me an apple for me to cut it for him in four segments. He likes the skin and gnaws the rest, leaving pieces of apples with his bitemarks all around the house. He also brings me a box of rice cookies he doesn’t know how to open. Then he eats them jumping on my bed. He leaves a trace of crumbles. Galileo inhabits the world by leaving evidence of his existence, of his habits, of his way of being in the world.
When we started walking the uncertain road to diagnosis, someone next of kin who is a children’s psychologist with a sort of specialisation in autism informally assessed him. She ruled (diagnosed, prognosed) that he wasn’t autistic, that we shouldn’t ask for the official disability certificate (because “labels” are wrong, she held), and that he should go on Lacanian therapy and music therapy on Zoom —now I think this is a ready-made sentence she just gives in general to anyone.

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