Henry is an agreeable person. He likes to like things. He wants to like things. He prefers not to dislike things. What is amazing is that it doesn't turn into a co-dependent, people-pleasing mess, like it does for me. He somehow likes things and glosses over his dislike of things unless he needs to maintain his boundaries and then he says a very strong and clear, "No. No Thanks." I want to learn this from him.
He and his acting teacher, Dana Brazil, are doing videos back and forth from their vacations. Henry loves to be on camera and usually I write some bullet points or a suggested script. Another thing Henry likes to do is improvise off of a script. So in the first video (on our youtube channel or like us on Facebook to see Dana's responses) you can see Henry has a script and he improvs and riffs about as he likes. He's confident and relaxed and adding his own interpretations. You can even see the joke he doesn't care for and how he drops it.
In his next video he responds to Dana's question about what he did on the 4th of July. He did not like the 4th of July. I asked him to do color commentary on video of the boat parade. NO. NO THANKS. I asked him to come watch the fireworks on the lake that night. NO. I'LL STAY INSIDE. That was in private. Watch what happens when I ask him to do a video report back to Dana on his July 4th experience. He struggles to tell her his true reaction. He flaps, he stitches together random thoughts and ideas into talk show style sentences. He says he likes it while shaking his head no. Finally, he admits it.
It's important to me that we show it all. He is the hashtag Autism Talk Show Host and a great deal of that is his entertainment savant gifting -- his ease at being onstage, his love for the audience, his feel for the energy, his ability to work a script. And the other part of that is his autism -- there's flapping, there's randomness, there's a desire to connect and not all the tools to do so. I want you to see it all. I want you to know what autism is and how he manages it.