There's an old Bill Cosby routine where he describes the typical clueless husband and father making a mess of assigned chores. The avalanche of errors ends with him being sent back to bed - which is where he wanted to be in the first place. It ends with the statement, "You see, we are dumb...and we are not so dumb." Good comedy concert - Bill Cosby Himself, if you want to check it out.
That remind me of my son. I would be far from calling him dumb; far from it. Every therapist and teacher he's seen has said he is more than likely brilliant, a genius, which no doubt he gets from his mother. He's been on the honor roll every quarter at school, ending with a 98 average this year. He got the highest score in the class on standardized tests back when he first started school. All of this while suffering from sensory overload.
(A quick note on autism - one of the more common characteristics is being unable to shut out as much of the world as you and I can. For example, you and I can focus on a conversation we're having in a noisy room, if with some difficulty. And we're able to ignore the flickers of flourescent lights, for another example. But many autistic kids have all this sensory input hitting them at once all the time. Imagine taking an IQ test in a room with a strobe lights, ear-bleedlingly loud music playing, and the chair and desk shifting from side to side randomly. Now imagine scoring high on the IQ test. Meet my son.)
There are times when I know, and his teachers know, that he CAN do something but doesn't WANT to, and acts like he can't. It used to be a huge problem, to where his teachers would ask me to get him to do things as homework that he had learned at eighteen months but decided he didn't want to do. In addition to being smart, he can be very cunning. Dumb...but not so dumb.
So I push him. I don't let him slide. And, well, we have a battle of the wills. If he inherited my wife's brains, he also inherited my stubbornness. The battles can be epic.
And yes, I have screwed up royally in the past. Taken resistance as "I won't" when it was "I can't" or, one time, "I'm really sick and about to throw up." If the boy ever does get to talking, he will make some therapist very rich one day. Part of the joys of parenthood in general and autism in particular.
But all I can do is believe in him and make him show what he can do. Because he can do so much, and I want people to see how smart he is. Autistic...but not so dumb.