|CAN YOU TELL WHAT IT IS? No, I can't either.|
This morning he said to me that it was Internet Safety Day at school yesterday.
Then he said, in a seeming non-sequiteur (that is a phrase that I learnt at A-level and I am bloody well going to use it even though it sounds like a gardening term) - that on this game he's playing they talk about how easy the levels are, or how hard the levels are.
I am used to Bobby's conversation being a bit random, but in this case I asked a question.
"What has the game you're playing got to do with the fact that it was Internet Safety Day yesterday?"
"Because they don't talk about people, they talk about how hard or easy the levels are."
"Ah. I see, so you're telling me (or doing your best to convince me) that the game your playing is safe?"
"Yup." ('flap flap flap' because I actually got it).
When we talk about 'theory of mind' (knowing what's in another person's head), it's not a case of you have it or you don't. There are levels of understanding. Bobby for instance does realise that he needs to tell you stuff that you don't already know about him and his thoughts. What he doesn't quite get is that you can't follow his train of thought, so he misses bits. You just get the stations in between - or the dots.
Actually, quite a few neurotypical people do this as well. When chatting with two friends I can think of, I feel like I'm watching catch-up TV and I've missed the first episode. I feel like saying (and I sometimes do) 'Hold on, go back, rewind...'
My mum has this habit of only realising that you don't know what she's talking about at last minute. This was a standing joke when we were younger. So she'd say: "It's good. The dinner." Obviously myself and my two brothers never let this lie and would mimic it back, because parents can't get away with anything.
The trouble is that when it's hard work to follow someone, you tend to switch off.
I'd like to have the join the dots conversation with Bobby, but I don't want him to feel too self-conscious about his chat, or have to think about it too hard, because he's doing pretty well at conversation. I think the only way is to gently ask him what the link is each time he does it, so he learns to join the dots for other people.
I might tell him that people are stupid like that. They can't read your mind.