This post originally appeared on the Field Notes on Allistics Tumblr.
Because Al Jr is in a mainstreamed fifth-grade class, he practices typing skills as part of their English language arts curriculum, just like normal children. In fact, we changed his IEP this year to include an increased focus on text-based and image-based language practice, since he still struggles mightily with communicating in anything but his own voice.
Earlier this week, his teacher pointed out that lately, Al Jr’s typing assignments have all come back covered in odd little groups of punctuation symbols:
🙂 (-: :o( D: 😀 ;))) =^.^=
The last one looks like a cat. What the others are, we have no idea. They aren’t the result of malfunctioning equipment; they appear on Al Jr’s work no matter which classroom device he uses, but they do not appear on the work of normal children.
The odd thing is that several of the other allistic children at the school have begun making these typos as well. It’s “normal” for allistic children to imitate one another’s social behaviors, of course – but it’s also precisely the kind of maladaptive behavior that therapy is supposed to discourage. The therapist is as baffled as we are. Has anyone else dealt with this behavior?