My tablet, my friend and my enemy.

My tablet, my vriend en my vyand

Originally written in Afrikaans by Nicolaas. Scroll down for translated version in English.

These pictures upset me a lot because it shows how autistic children, like me,  and our parents frequently misunderstand each other. It’s not as simple as these pictures make it seem.

Hierdie prentjies ontstel my baie omdat dit wys hoe ons outistiese kinders en ons ouers mekaar dikwels misverstaan. Dit is nie so eenvoudig soos wat hierdie prentjies dit laat lyk nie.

Ek is so moedeloos.  As ek myself kom kry, dan is ek oppad na my tablet toe. My lyf vat my soontoe, of ek nou wil of nie.

My brein is geprogrammeer om na die tablet toe te gaan as ek nie iets anders het om myself mee besig te hou nie. Dit is ‘n vreeslike gesukkelry om my lyf op ‘n ander pad te kry. Ek wil so graag my lyf leer om ander goed ook te doen, maar voor ek my kom kry, dan het ek weer my tablet beet.

As ander mense by ons kom kuier, dan gryp ek hulle fone. Dit is so “embarrassing” dat ek myself so wangedra. Die mense skrik hulle dood as ek hulle fone gryp en ek sien hoe benoud hulle raak. Ek verstaan dit en ek wil regtig nie hulle fone vat nie. So, dit is beter as hulle hul fone in hulle sakke hou dat ek dit nie sien nie, want sodra ek dit sien, kry ek my lyf moeilik beheer en steek ek myself in die skande as ek hul fone gryp.

Ek wil ook vertel van die voordele van my tablet.

Ek leer graag ander tale aan deurdat ek na bekende stories kyk wat in verskillende tale vertaal is. Ek hou ook daarvan om die prentjies op verskillende maniere aanmekaar te las sodat ek dan my eie stories in my kop opmaak.

Dit is baie lekker vir my om met my tablet te speel, maar daar is ook ‘n baie slegte kant aan my tablet spelery.    

Dit is wanneer ek vashaak op ‘n spesifieke storie of plek op my tablet. Dit maak my net so mal soos vir die mense rondom my as ek dieselfde ding oor en oor en oor speel. Dit is vir my net so kwaai irriterend soos vir die ander wat saam kyk of dit aanhoor.  Dit is net my lyf wat daarop vas haak. Ek wil eintlik ander goed luister en kyk, maar my lyf raak vas gevang in dieselfde pad wat dan oor en oor loop en dit is vir my baie sleg as dit gebeur.

Daar is goed waarvan ek baie hou, soos in Lion King wanneer die papa leeu die baba leeu vir die ander diere wys, maar ek is te bang om daarna te kyk, want dan weet ek verseker dat my lyf gaan vashaak. Dit is soos ‘n maalkolk wat my lyf insuig, en dan kan ek om die dood nie ontsnap daarvan af nie. Dit is my grootste struikelblok as dit gebeur. My ouers dink ek is vreeslik lief vir Lion King en sit dit graag vir my op, maar eintlik maak hulle my mooi bang wanneer hulle dit doen. Dit is dan my ergste as hulle dink hulle doen goed, maar eintlik wil ek net sê “help my om iets anders te kyk.” Daar is ander stories wat dieselfde doen as Lion King, maar vir my is Lion King die ergste maalkolk. As iemand my laat kies wat ek wil kyk, sal my lyf altyd Lion King kies, al maak dit my bang.

Dit is die neukery van my dom lyf. Hy maak nie soos ek wil hê hy moet maak nie. Dit is waarom my tablet my vriend en my vyand is.

Toe ek nog nie so mooi kon spel of skryf nie, het ek soms probeer kommunikeer deur die iPad te gebruik om boodskappe te probeer uit kry. Ek het byvoorbeeld sekere dele van my stories oor en oor gespeel om my mamma se aandag te probeer trek en ‘n boodskap vir haar te stuur, maar sy het dit eers begin verstaan dat ek vir haar ‘n boodskap probeer stuur op dié manier toe sy besef het ek is slimmer as wat almal gedink het, toe ons met Spelling to Communicate begin het.

Ek verstaan hoekom ouers moedeloos raak van dieselfde stories oor en oor kyk, want dit is vir my net so vervelig soos vir hulle. Ek vra asb baie mooi dat ouers hul kinders asseblief moet help om uit daai maalkolk uit te kom van daai selfde storie oor en oor tot vervelens toe.

Dit was my gunsteling tydverdryf toe ek klein was om stories soos Barney en die Loflaaities te kyk, want dit het ander kinders in gehad en ek was so alleen in my tronk sonder kommunikasie, dat die kinders in die Barney stories my enigste geselskap was. Dit is hoekom ek dit so graag gekyk het.

Die storie van Nemo was vir my mooi omdat dit die vissie met ‘n te klein vin in gehad het en hy het ‘n kwaai avontuur gehad.

Ek hou ook van stories wat lyk asof die karakters met my praat, want dan verbeel ek my ek praat terug met hulle soos ‘n kind met ‘n stem. Daar was baie jare wat niemand geweet het dat ek slim is en ook dink oor dinge nie. Dit is hoekom niemand met my gepraat het asof ek verstaan en kan terugpraat nie.

Ek is nou groot en ek wil nou ander stories kyk, wat groter kinders in belangstel, maar nou haak my lyf vas op daai kinderstories wat ek jare terug begin kyk het.

Dit is swaar om te praat oor die verlede, maar dit is nodig sodat ander kinders wie nie so bevoorreg is soos ek nie, ook gehelp kan word.

Ek raak soms so angstig as ek nie die tablet in die hande kry nie, dat ek dit heeltemal verloor.

Dit is ‘n moeilike balans, want soms help my tablet my om te kalmeer. Die bekendheid van die ou storie en die feit dat ek weet wat gaan gebeur, is vir my gerusstellend omdat ek dit kan manupileer soos wat ek wil. As ek daarna soek om te kalmeer en ek kry dit nie, dan raak ek vreeslik angstig. Dit is ‘n manier om myself te kalmeer, maar terselfder tyd is dit ook my grootste vyand. As my lyf vashaak op dieselfde plek, dan kalmeer dit my nie, maar maak my weer angstig,

My enigste raad vir ouers is om met hul kinders ‘n goeie verhouding te hê, sodat hul kan sien wanneer die tablet vir hul kind ontstel en wanneer dit hul kalmeer. Die probleem is dat dieselfde ding kan my kalmeer en ontstel. Dit is moeilik om te sien wat is die regte een, wat wanneer geld en wanneer om die tablet af te vat en wanneer om dit te gee.

As ek voorbereid is daarop dat die krag gaan afgaan, of dat daar nie sein gaan wees nie, kan ek dit hanteer. Maar as dit onverwags gebeur, ontstel dit my.

Ek maak myself  kalm deurdat ek na iets soek wat ek kan gebruik in die tablet se plek om my brein mee besig te hou.  Dit is wat die tablet eintlik vir my doen. Dit is ‘n manier om my brein mee besig te hou. As ek iets anders het om my lyf en my brein mee besig te hou, het ek nie die tablet nodig nie. Dis is hoekom my lyf na my tablet toe gaan as ek nie iets anders het om my brein mee besig te hou nie. Ek weet nie hoe verslawing is nie, maar my lyf het die tablet nodig om te kalmeer, maar as ek vas haak op iets, laat dit my verloor waarvoor ek dit aanvanklik gebruik het, om te kalmeer .

 

I get so discouraged. Before I can prevent myself from doing it, I’m going to my tablet. My body takes me there, whether I like it or not. My brain is programmed to go to the tablet if I don’t have anything else to keep myself busy with. It’s a terrible struggle to get my body on another road. I really want to teach my body to do other things as well, but before I know, I have my tablet in my hands again.

If other people come to visit us, I grab their phones. It is so embarrassing when I misbehave like that. The people get such a fright when I grab their phones and I see how distressed they become. I understand that. I really don’t want to take their phones. It is better if they keep their phones in their pockets,  that I don’t see it because as soon as I see it, I struggle to keep my body away from it and I embarrass myself when I grab their phones.

I like to learn other languages by looking at known stories that were translated into different languages. I also like to put the pictures together in different ways so that I then make my own stories in my head.

I also want to tell of the benefits of my tablet.

It is very nice for me to play with my tablet, but there is also a very bad side to playing with my tablet.

That’s when I get stuck on a specific story or place on my tablet. It makes me just as crazy as for the people around me when I play the same thing over and over and over again. It is just as extremely irritating to me as for the others who are watching or hearing it. It’s just my body getting stuck. I actually want to listen and watch other stuff, but my body gets stuck in the same path, repeating itself over and over.  It is very bad when it happens. 

There is stuff that I like very much, as in Lion King when the daddy Lion shows the baby lion to the other animals, but I’m too afraid to look at it. I know for sure that my body is going to get stuck. It is like my body get sucked in by a whirlpool, and then I cannot escape for the life of me. This is my biggest obstacle if this happens. My parents think I am terribly fond of Lion King and they like to put it on for me, but actually they make me pretty scared when they do. It’s my worst if they think they’re doing well, but actually I just want to shout “help me to do something else”.  There are other stories that do the same as Lion King, but for me, Lion King is the worst whirlpool. If someone is letting me choose what I want to watch, my body will always choose Lion King, though it scares me. This is the horror of my stupid body. It does not do what I want it to do. That is why my tablet is my friend and my enemy.

Before I could spell or write, I sometimes tried to communicate by using the IPad to try to get messages out. For example, I played some parts of my stories over and over to try to get my mama’s attention and send a message to her, but she only started understanding that I was trying to send her a message in this way after she realized I was smarter than everyone thought, when we started with Spelling to Communicate. 

I understand why parents get discouraged from watching the same stories over and over, because it is just as boring to me as to them. I ask very nicely that parents should help their children get out of that whirlpool of that same story over and over.

It was my favorite pastime to watch stories like Barney and the Loflaaities, as it had other children in. I was so alone in my jail without communication, that the children in the Barney stories were my only company. That’s why I’d like to watch it. The story of Nemo was beautiful for me because it had the fish with a too small vin and he had an great adventure. I also like stories that look like the characters are talking to me, because then I imagine me talking back to them like a child with a voice. There were many years when no one knew I was clever and can think about things. That’s why nobody spoke to me as if I understood and could speak back. I am now grown up and I want to watch other stories now that older children are interested in, but now my body gets stuck on those kids stories I started watching years ago. 

It is hard to talk about the past, but it is necessary so that other children who are not as privileged as I am, can also be helped.

I sometimes get so anxious when I don’t get the tablet, I lose it completely.  This is a tough balance, because sometimes my tablet helps me to calm down. The familiarity of the old story and the fact that I know what is going to happen is reassuring and I can also manipulate it as I wish. When I want to use it to calm down, and I don’t get it, I get terribly anxious. It is a way to calm myself, but also sometimes my worst enemy. If my body gets stuck at the same place, it won’t calm me, but makes me fret again.

My only advice for parents is to have a good relationship with their children, so they can see when the tablet is upsetting their child and when it’s calming them. The problem is that the same thing can calm and upset me. It’s hard to see what is the right one, when to take the tablet away and when to give it.

When I know beforehand that the electricity is going to be down, or that there is not going to be signal, I’ll be able to handle it. But if this happens unexpectedly, I get very anxious. I prepare myself by looking for something I can use in the tablet’s place to keep my brain busy.

That’s what the tablet actually does for me. It is a way to keep my brain busy. If I have something else to keep my body and my brain occupied with, I don’t need the tablet. That’s why my body goes to my tablet if I don’t have anything else to keep my brain busy with. I don’t know how addiction is, but my body needs the tablet to calm down. But if I get stuck on something, it loses its ability to calm me down.

2 thoughts on “My tablet, my friend and my enemy.

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