Autism is what's known as a spectrum disorder, which means it covers a wide range of symptoms. There are some common threads - sensory overload and social awkwardness, for example - and some problems aren't as common - having to have strict routines to manage the day, or only being able to eat brown food - but if you've met one autistic person you've met one autistic person. Each one has their own challenges, advantages and quirks. They're kinda like cats.
(which reminds me - when my wife was pregnant, people asked how I'd handle a baby. I told them I was well trained, having had cats all my life. They don't listen, they're pushy, they will do what they want to do, you have to clean up after them, and when they want you to wake the heck up, you WILL wake the heck up)
As I said in the previous post, Xan is quite smart, and he can handle change pretty well. He may not be happy about some switches, but he isn't locked into a second-by-second schedule. He has some sensory issues, especially with echoes, and when really excited will do what is called stimming - flap his hands, jump, and twirl in circles, which can lead to overexictement and a possible meltdown. Too much feeling, too little outlet.
One issue he does have is a lack of verbal skills. He can talk, but doesn't very much, and his communication is limited to hard concepts, like 'I want' or 'can-I-please-have', all in one quick sound. He has a lot of code words or shortcuts - for a while if he was upset he'd say ABC ABC ABC over and over, or saying 3 when he wants a CD to repeat a song (our car CD player has the number 3 on the repeat key and he put it together that way) and other ones that we're so used to they're etched into everyday life and not noticeable anymore.
Soft concepts are those based on emotion, the harder things to explain, and that's where he has trouble. He can't say if he's mad or sad. We pick up on that when he starts yelling or crying, when it's obvious and past the point we could have helped. But when he's happy, he lets out this gleeful, joyous 'Deeeeeee'; one high long drawn out sound of sheer emotion. He does it when we pick up mommy from work, when we're driving in the car and his favorite song is blasting and he's sticking his hand out the window, when I'm tickling him in between the laughs. It's a wonderful sound to hear.
Here's hoping you all have a Deeeeeeeeee moment today.